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Simon McBurney, Complicite Company


In 1991 tourists descending a 3000-metre peak discover a shrivelled naked body emerging from the ice. How old is it? A man alone in his London flat, unable to sleep, searches in his memory. Or does he imagine?


Place and memory collide while stories that are older than the millennium connect to stories that surround us in everyday life. Stories of journeys fragment, reflect, repeat and revolve like the act of memory itself as “Mnemonic” questions our understanding of time, our capacity to distort history and our attempts to retell the past.


Conceived and directed by Simon McBurney, “Mnemonic” was devised by the Company for the 1999 Salzburg Festival. It was first seen in London in November 1999 when it was awarded the 1999 Critics’ Circle Award for Best New Play. It was restaged in 2001.

Methuen Publishing Ltd. (Collection: Methuen Drama)


Simon McBurney

Actor, writer, stage director, and co-founder of Complicité, Simon McBurney has created and acted in more than 30 productions and the company has won over 50 major theatre awards worldwide.


Recent directing works for Complicité include: “The Encounter” (2015); “The Master and Margarita” (2012); “The Magic Flute” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (English National Opera, 2012); “A Dog’s Heart”, an original opera produced by De Nederlandse Opera and English National Opera in collaboration with Complicité (2010); “Shun-kin” (2008); “A Disappearing Number” (2007); “A Minute Too Late” (2005); “Measure for Measure” by William Shakespeare (2004); “The Elephant Vanishes”, based on the short stories by Haruki Murakami (2003); “Pet Shop Boys Meet Eisenstein”; and “Strange Poetry”, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra (Walt Disney Concert Hall, 2004).


Other directing credits include “All My Sons” by Arthur Miller (on Broadway with John Lithgow, Diane Wiest, Patrick Wilson and Katie Holmes, 2008) and “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” by Bertolt Brecht (with Al Pacino in New York, 2002).


In 2012 he was the first British Artist Associé of the Avignon Festival and his adaptation of Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita” was the festival’s centrepiece. In 2009 “Shun-kin” earned him the Yomiuri Theatre Award Grand Prize for Best Director (the first non-Japanese artist to receive the award) and he was the recipient of the 2008 Berlin Academy of Arts Konrad Wolf Prize for Europe’s Outstanding Multi-disciplinary Artists.


He has appeared in many feature films as an actor, including “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” (Direction: Christopher McQuarrie, 2015), “The Theory of Everything” (Direction: James Marsh, 2014), “Magic in the Moonlight” (Direction: Woody Allen, 2014), “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (Direction: Tomas Alfredson, 2011), “Jane Eyre” (Direction: Cary Fukunaga, 2011), “The Duchess” (Direction: Saul Dibb, 2008), and “The Last King of Scotland” (Direction: Kevin Macdonald, 2006).

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