Stephen was born in Melbourne, Australia. He was educated at Melbourne Grammar School and studied Music and Drama at Melbourne University before moving permanently to London. As his father is English Stephen has dual nationality. He made his directing debut staging Trial By Jury in the Bow Street Magistrates Court for the Covent Garden Festival.
Subsequently, his productions have included Rigoletto (Chicago Lyric Opera), Tosca (Santa Fe), Carmen (Opera Theatre Saint Louis), La Traviata (Singapore Lyric Opera), Dovetales - a collection of Jonathan Dove operas (Glyndebourne Jerwood Studio), Don Giovanni, Don Pasquale, Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci and Hänsel und Gretel (Opera Holland Park), the London premiere of Schubert’s Alfonso und Estrella (UCOpera), the European premiere of Tobias Picker's childrens' opera Fantastic Mr Fox (London), La Bohème (British Youth Opera), Idomeneo with Peter Sellars (Glyndebourne Touring Opera), Dialogues des Carmélites, La Navarraise, Le Portrait de Manon, Comedy on the Bridge, L'enfant Prodigue and Francesca di Foix (Guildhall School of Music and Drama), The Magic Flute (Royal Acadamy of Music), Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens (Chelsea Theatre) and an unanimously acclaimed production of Tosca for Opera Holland Park. This production was revived at the Richmond Theatre, London and was described by The Guardian as "the most brilliantly original production of Tosca to be seen in this country for decades".
Stephen has also directed Madam Butterfly for Mid Wales Opera and the opening production of the 60th anniversary season of Wexford Festival Opera - La Cour de Célimène by Ambroise Thomas which was nominated for Best Opera Production of 2011 in the annual Irish Times Theatre Awards.
As Revival Director his productions have included Madama Butterfly, Tosca and Roméo et Juliette (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden), Otello (Glyndebourne Festival Opera and San Francisco Opera) and La Rondine (Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Opéra Monte Carlo and San Francisco Opera).
Stephen began his directing apprenticeship at both Glyndebourne and Covent Garden where he worked as an assistant/associate director on over twenty productions including Don Giovanni, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, The Bartered Bride, Attila, La Bohème, The Cunning Little Vixen, Aida, Samson et Dalila, Il trovatore, Peter Grimes and the world premiere of Lorin Mazel’s 1984 . He also worked as assistant director on Cavalleria Rusticana & I Pagliacci for Raymond Gubbay at the Royal Albert Hall and on two Olivier award winning productions at the Royal National Theatre Singin' in the Rain and Anything Goes, assisting Trevor Nunn. He was also the Resident Director on the UK touring production of Jesus Christ Superstar for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group. Stephen has worked very closely with Jonathan Kent on new productions of Tosca (Covent Garden), The Turn of the Screw (Glyndebourne), Elektra (Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg) and was his Associate Director on the West End musical Marguerite at the Haymarket Theatre.
In 2014 Stephen directed a major new staging of Rigoletto for the Bucharest National Opera, the first new production of this piece for the company in 60 years, and returned to Opera Holland Park with a new production of La Fanciulla del West. In 2015 he staged an all new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera for the Bucharest National Opereta company in a purpose built new theatre and the London professional premiere of Jonathan Dove's Flight (pictured above) for Opera Holland Park, which was nominated for the What's On Stage Opera Event of 2015 Award. He also made his directing debut at LAMDA and returned to GSMD for whom he has now staged seven operas.
2016 begins with an all new staging of Madama Butterfly for the Danish National Opera (Den Jykse Opera) marking Stephen's Scandinavian debut.