Simon McBurney is the son of American archaeologist and academic Charles Brian Montagu McBurney and the secretary Anne Francis Edmondstone Charles. McBurney studied English literature at Cambridge University and then learned the drama at the Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris. Since his teenage years, he is one of the best friends of Emma Thompson.
In 1983 he founded with Annabel Arden, and Marcello Magni, the Théâtre de Complicite. It is a touring theater company that could achieve with the use of multimedia techniques (music, film, slide, tape ), close-fitting representation for the purposes Lecoqs and philosophical explanations international notoriety. Several productions have also been implemented in feature films such as Mnemonic (1999) and The Elephant Vanishes ( 2003).
2002, he has directed in Bertolt Brecht The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. It was performed in late 2002 at the Theater of the New York Pace University with Al Pacino in the lead role.
McBurney partner is the Australian actress Jacqueline McKenzie.