Born in Staffordshire, England, Stephen trained at Goldsmith's College, University of London, gaining an honours degree in music. He was chosen by Sir Cameron Mackintosh to study with Stephen Sondheim during Sondheim’s tenure at Oxford University as the Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre. Subsequently Stephen composed the music for Maddie (book and lyrics by regular writing partner Shaun McKenna with Steven Dexter), which was workshopped at the Royal National Theatre Studio before receiving its first full production at the Salisbury Playhouse. The production then transferred to the Lyric Theatre, London produced by Kenny Wax. The critically acclaimed two disc 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition London Cast Album was released in October 2016 by Stage Door Records.
He was the co-composer, along with Laurence O'Keefe, for La Cava (book by Dana Broccoli, lyrics by John Claflin and Shaun McKenna), which transferred from the Churchill Theatre, Bromley to the Victoria Palace Theatre, London later moving to the Piccadilly Theatre.
Stephen and Shaun McKenna were commissioned by John Havu and Walter Hitz (with Stef Mens) to write an acclaimed musical adaptation of Johanna Spyri's Heidi. The show opened in Switzerland at an open air arena to universal critical acclaim. A new production of Heidi opened at the Anhaltisches Theater Dessau, Germany. Stephen and Shaun were then commissioned to write a sequel, Johanna and Heidi, which played in Switzerland and was nominated for the prestigious Prix Walo Award. This was followed by a prequel The One True Thing. The final performing version of Heidi is now licensed worldwide by Willem Metz Management and was recently workshopped in London.
Stephen and Shaun McKenna have also written a musical sequel to Peter Pan, The Return of Peter Pan, which is licensed in certain territories by Rodgers and Hammerstein Theatricals Europe. Their latest project is Anastasia: A Musical Riddle.
Other musical theatre projects include the score for My Father’s Son, an acclaimed musical set in the steel mills of nineteenth century Sheffield (book and lyrics by the late award-winning writer Stephen Clark) which was performed at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield and the Lilian Baylis Theatre, Sadler’s Wells.
Stephen has also written the score for a musical adaptation of The Amazing Mr Blunden (book and lyrics by Edward Hardy) which was performed in concert at London’s Theatre Museum, Covent Garden.
With the noted author Jonathan Miles, Stephen has written several musicals including Night Shoot (which is set around the filming of Les Enfants du Paradis in occupied France). With book and lyrics by the author Michelle Magorian he has composed the music for a musical for five actors called Sea Change.
For younger casts he has written The Last Wave (with the writer Peter Spafford). Stephen and Peter are collaborating on a new musical Comrade Pav.
Stephen has written the scores for several plays including The Broken Heart (Lyric Hammersmith Studio) directed by Jonathan Church and Peer Gynt. He also composes choral music and music for media and has recently composed a Requiem.