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Sir Simon Russell Beale, CBE

Board of Governors Member since 2014

Sir Simon Russell Beale, CBE is an English stage and film actor. He began his professional career in the late 1980s with the Royal Shakespeare Company, playing mostly comedic roles. In the early ‘90s he was invited to play Konstantin in a production of Chekhov’s The Seagull, helping him broaden his range into dramatic roles as well.

Since then he has played many Shakespearean roles, including King Lear, Iago, Hamlet, Richard III, and Cassius. Other stage roles have included Joseph Stalin in Collaborators, Voltaire/ Pangloss in Candide, and King Arthur in Spamalot which he performed both on Broadway and West End. He has also appeared in film and television, including My Week with Marilyn, Persuasion, and the upcoming film version of Into the Woods. Recently, he fronted the BBC Four series Sacred Music with Harry Christophers and The Sixteen, a UK-based choir and period instrument orchestra, about Western church music. In May 2015, he will star in Temple, a new play about the 2011 UK anti-austerity protests.

He is engaged not only in performance but other activities of direct interest: he’s been asked to write the introduction to The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare, and he has another request to create actors’ editions of some of the plays, with notes on performance. Simon previously served as President of the Anthony Powell Society, a charitable literary society devoted to the author. He is a Patron of English Touring Theatre, South London Theatre, London Symphony Chorus, and For Short Theatre Company. He also participated in a 2013 charity performance to benefit Citizens Theatre’s Seat Restoration Campaign. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, at Buckingham Palace, on 9 October 2019. In 2022, Beale won his first Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in The Lehman Trilogy.