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Simon McBurney

Simon McBurney

Actor, writer, director, co-founder, Complicité

Actor, writer and director Simon McBurney is one of the most innovative, mercurial and influential theatre-makers working today. In 1983 he co-founded the company Complicité, since when all his work has been made through a deeply researched and highly collaborative process which fuses a profound belief that all aspects of the theatre should challenge the limits of theatrical form.

As well as writing and creating original works, Simon has brought great plays to the stage – Beckett, Brecht, Bulgakov, Durrenmatt, Ionesco, Daniil Kharms, Arthur Miller, Bruno Schulz, Shakespeare and Ruzzante – and adapted numerous works of literature. He adapted and directed The Master and Margarita (2012) for the 2012 Avignon Festival, and Stefan Zweig’s Beware of Pity (2015) for the Schaubühne Theatre, Berlin.  

Simon’s opera work includes directing A Dog’s Heart (2010) a new opera by Sasha Raskatov from the novella by Mikhail Bulgakov, The Magic Flute (2012) and Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress (2017). In 2020 he directed Alban Berg’s Wozzeck with Sir Simon Rattle conducting.

Simon’s work continually returns to political, social and philosophical questions of the way we live, think and act as a society. He is unafraid of melding the most ancient of theatrical forms with the most recent aspects of modern technology.

These aspects of Simon’s work are all present in the award-winning The Encounter (2015). Described as ‘one of the most fully-immersive theatre pieces ever created’ by The New York Times, the show played sold-out runs at London’s Barbican theatre in 2016 and 2017, and on Broadway. 

His numerous awards include the Berlin Konrad Woolf Prize for Europe’s Outstanding Multi-Disciplinary Artists (2008) and the prestigious Yomiuri Prize in Japan (2009), which he was the first foreigner to win. He was Artiste Associé at the 2012 Avignon Festival and has honorary doctorates at several universities including Lund in Sweden, London Metropolitan University and Cambridge University. 

Twitter: @SimonMcBurney