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 Shaun McKenna and John Claflin), 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 to write a celebrated musical adaptation of Heidi. Heidi opened in Switzerland at an open air arena to universal critical acclaim.
A new production 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 new
performing version of Heidi is now licensed 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 (creative development by John Havu and orchestrations by Stef Mens) which will be licensed in certain territories by Rodgers and Hammerstein Theatricals Europe. Their latest project is Anastasia: A Musical Riddle.
Stephen has also composed the music for My Father’s Son, a musical set in nineteenth century Sheffield and based loosely on Shakespeare's Hamlet (book and lyrics by award-winning writer Stephen Clark) performed at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield and the Lilian Baylis Theatre, Sadler’s Wells. Stephen has written the music for a musical adaptation of The Amazing Mr Blunden (book and lyrics by Martin Guerre lyricist 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 Dietrich and the Red Spy and Night Shoot (which is set around the filming of Les Enfants du Paradis). With book and lyrics by the celebrated author Michelle Magorian he has composed the music for a musical called Sea Change. For children he has written The Last Wave (with the writer Peter Spafford), a musical based loosely on the events of the Children’s Crusade.
Stephen has written the scores for several plays including The Broken Heart (Lyric Hammersmith Studio) directed by Jonathan Church. Stephen also composes choral music and music for media. He has recently composed a Requiem.