29 October 2015 | ARTICLE
From its humble beginnings, STOMP has grown into a worldwide phenomenon that has electrified audiences for nearly 25 years.
STOMP was the result of a ten-year collaboration between its creators, Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, who first met in 1981 as members of the street band Pookiesnackenburger and the theatre group Cliff Hanger. After a highly successful period of touring, Pookiesnackenburger produced the acclaimed ‘Bins’ commercial for Heineken lager. The famous ad would be the starting point for STOMP’S climactic drum performance.
In 1986, Luke and Steve created an eight-minute percussive movie for Bette Midler’s HBO special Mondo Beyondo. After five more years of touring and honing their passion for live percussion and dance, the duo launched STOMP in 1991 at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre. Over the next three years the show performed to critical acclaim and sold-out auditoriums across the world.
STOMP came permanently to America at a run at the Orpheum Theatre in New York in February 1994; by the summer of 1994 the first American cast was in place, freeing the original cast for sell-out tours of North America and Japan. In 1995 two more American productions were created for the sole purpose of US touring, which continues to this day.
In 1996 STOMP performed at the Academy Awards, to mark the Oscar nomination the show received for their short film, Brooms, based around the show’s opening routine. A year later legendary producer Quincy Jones invited the troupe to collaborate on his album, Q’s Jook Joint.
By the 2000s, the show had become a stateside mainstay, performing for Bill Clinton by the Lincoln Memorial at the turn of the century, and celebrating 10 years in New York in 2004 with the renaming of 8th Avenue ‘STOMP Avenue’!
In 2002 STOMP finally entered London’s West End at the Vaudeville Theatre, and later that year STOMP performed as part of The Royal Variety Show for the second time. By 2011 STOMP was celebrating its 20th anniversary with a special performance at the Ambassadors Theatre.
In 2012 STOMP received the honour of being asked to perform as part of the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games in London. The show’s biggest ever troupe was brought together – 40 performers from 12 countries – to wow the world and bring the games to a close.
2015 has seen STOMP celebrate 13 years in London’s West End. Luke and Steve, meanwhile, were recently awarded a joint honorary Doctor of Arts degree from the University of Brighton in recognition of their major contribution to music and performance.
It’s been an extraordinary journey for the pair who brought rhythm to the world.