As well as his acclaimed play Trunks, about the Brighton Trunk Murders of 1934, which was revived in 2008, Stephen's stage-plays include Nemesis, about John Galsworthy's extraordinary affair and subsequent marriage to his cousin Ada. This was given a rehearsed reading at Chichester Minerva in 2006, but has yet to have a full production.
In the last four years Stephen has completed three new plays:
- Mick and Me, set in the Sixties, about an imaginary friendship with a certain rock star on tour in the provinces
- The Branch, a play about the British Education Branch that went into defeated Germany in 1945 to 're-educate' the Germans
- Wyatt, a three-hander, exploring the relationship between Sir Thomas Wyatt, Anne Boleyn and Henry VIIIth
Stephen Plaice's trilogy of operas with the composer John Lunn have all been produced at Glyndebourne and have set the standard for main-stage opera for a young audience in the last ten years. Richard Morrison of The Times said that they had 'virtually redefined the genre' with Misper, and that Zoë was 'another giant step forward'. The operatic thriller Tangier Tattoo toured nationally as part of the Glyndebourne Tour 2005.
In the 1990s Stephen worked closely with Alison Edgar, artistic director of Shaker Productions who were based at the Hawth in Crawley. Edgar directed the original production of Trunks, and produced the trilogy of short comedies, The Last Post, The Shortlist and The Milk Train, which appeared in successive seasons of 'Briefs', Edgar's annual selection of short plays.
In Brighton in the mid 1980s Stephen co-founded the shortlived Thumbscrew Theatre which staged his first play Young Faust. In 1987, with the director Helena Uren, a.k.a Helena Bell, Stephen founded Alarmist Theatre. This company staged Prometheus Unlocked, a play about a prison arsonist, as well as many of Stephen's adaptations and translations, including The Bedbug (after Mayakovsky), directed by Helena Uren, which toured to perestroika Moscow in 1990.
In recent years Stephen has become increasingly in demand as an opera librettist, working with many front-rank contemporary composers including Harrison Birtwistle, Orlando Gough, Richard Taylor, Michael Zev Gordon, Joseph Phibbs.