Stephen Plaice

Stephen Plaice Portrait


Stephen Plaice is a dramatist working in opera, theatre and film. In the last decade he has become one of Britain's leading librettists and bookwriters for musical theatre.

Stephen has collaborated with many leading composers, including Harrison Birtwistle, Michael Zev Gordon and Orlando Gough.  In 2010 Stephen wrote the text for Birtwistle's oratorio ANGEL FIGHTER, which premiered in the Bach Festival Leipzig in 2010, and in the UK at the BBC Proms in 2011. In 2010 Stephen’s chamber opera with Luís Tinoco PAINT ME was premiered at Culturgest in Lisbon.  He wrote the libretto for LUDD AND ISIS (composer Richard Taylor) for the Royal Opera House in 2010, and also for ROH in 2012, HOT HOUSE (composer Julian Grant). Glyndebourne Education staged LOVERS WALK in 2012, composed by Luke Styles, and in 2013, IMAGO, composed by Orlando Gough, was presented at Glyndebourne, directed by Susannah Waters. 

Stephen is currently working with the Swedish composer Rolf Martinsson on a full-length opera AMY FOSTER (based on Joseph Conrad's novella)to be staged at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm in 2020. He is also working on A TOWN for Barefoot Opera.

THE TALE OF JANUARIE, Stephen's operatic adaptation of Chaucer's The Merchant's Tale, with music by Julian Phillips, was produced at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in March 2017 (dir: Martin Lloyd Evans, conducted by Dominic Wheeler).

Music theatre credits: Book for the West End musical DADDY COOLROBIN HOODwith composer Grant Olding in 2010; and an adaptation of THE JUNGLE BOOK, music by Richard Taylor (both at The Castle, Wellingborough). 

13 March 2017

Stephen Plaice is librettist on THE TALE OF JANUARIE at Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Stephen Plaice is librettist on THE TALE OF JANUARIE at Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Composer Julian Philips and librettist Stephen Plaice’s new Opera is based on Chaucer’s The Merchant’s Tale and is written in Middle English.

The Guardian ★★★★ 

“one of the fruitier Canterbury Tales already, made more so by Plaice and director Martin Lloyd-Evans’s Carry-On-Up-the-Tabard approach.”

“a lot more fun than the description sounds”

“a well-made take on The Merchant’s Tale that’s even fruitier than the original”

Financial Times ★★★★ 

“Stephen Plaice, had been open about his desire to do justice to the writer’s bawdiness….In fact, he has surpassed it.” 

The Express ★★★★

Planet Hugill ★★★★

“uses Chaucer's own language to fascinating effect”

“Within this basic framework, Philips and Plaice have woven a great many strands. 

“a fascinating piece”