The performing arts school Sir Paul McCartney launched in his home town of Liverpool, England, is planning to open branches around the world.

Talks are underway to set up centres in Europe, the Far East and North and South America, according to the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts principal Mark Featherstone-witty.

He says, "People have approached us in Barcelona, Japan, Texas and Colombia to assist us in the creation of new Performing Arts Institutes.

"These ideas are in the process of being created and are therefore ongoing. However, this encourages us to be pro-active over the next ten years.

"Rather than passively wait for people to approach us we will find partners and do it ourselves."

McCartney co-founded LIPA in 1996 to help local kids get a break in showbusiness, but he has little involvement in the day to day running of the school and played no part in talks to make it international.

Featherstone-Witty adds, "We hope that a mark of our maturity is that actions ascribed to Paul will cease. We are acting independently of him,"

The former beatle will be present when LIPA celebrates its 10th anniversary on Monday (30JAN06).