Simon Russell Beale is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed talents in British theatre.He spent his early years abroad as his father was Surgeon General to the British Army (his mother is also a doctor), but aged 8 was relocated to England and became a pupil at St Paul's Cathedral School. He then attended Clifton College in Bristol on a choral scholarship before studying English at the University of Cambridge (also on a music scholarship). He began a course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, initially as a singer, later switching to acting, but left unsatisfied. He was spotted in a student play at the Edinburgh Festival, which led to starting a professional acting career.He was first noticed in comic roles at the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he forged collaborations with Sam Mendes whom he has continued to work with. Since 1995 he has been a regular player at the National Theatre.Beale is an associate of the National Theatre and the Almeida Theatre in London, and an associate artist at the RSC.