Simon Russell Beale was educated at St Pauls Cathedral Choir School and Clifton College in Bristol. After graduating with a first in English at Cambridge University he began training as an opera singer before he turned to acting. He started his theatrical career at The Royal Court, and went on to the Royal Shakespeare Company for eight years. Since then, he has spent twenty years at The National Theatre, performed all over the world, and appeared in award winning TV and film. In 2003 he was appointed a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to the Arts.