Neil Armfield graduated from the University of Sydney. He becamse Artistic Co-Director of the Nimrod Theatre, Sydney and later joined the Lighthouse Theatre Company, South Australia, as Associate Director. Armfield has also been Artistic Director of Sydney's Company B at Belvoir Street Theatre.
In addition to theatre direction, Armfield has directed opera, film and television. In 1988 he received the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Performing Arts. He has won numerous awards for direction including the Helpmann Award for Best Director in 2001 and 2002 and in 2006 he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature from the University of Sydney. Armfield was the winner of the Best Direction category, Sydney Theatre Awards, in 2007 for his production of Toy Symphony.