Cresswell and McNicholas first worked together in 1981 as members of the street band Pookiesnackenburger and the theatre group Cliff Hanger. Together, these groups presented a series of street comedy musicals at the Edinburgh Festival throughout the early 1980s. After two albums, a UK TV series and extensive touring throughout Europe, Pookiesnackenburger also produced the "Bins" commercial for Heineken lager. The piece was originally written and choreographed as part of the band's stage show.
Between 1987 and 1990, Cresswell directed staged four large-scale outdoor events, including "Beat the Clyde". which involved floating a drum orchestra on a pontoon in the centre of Glasgow; the largest of these events, the "Heineken Hove Lagoon Show", involved a 120 piece drum orchestra featuring the Brighton Festival Chorus and a full orchestral string section.
In the summer of 1991, Cresswell and McNicholas produced, financed and directed the original Stomp show, previewing at London's Bloomsbury Theatre and premiering at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, where it became the Guardian's "Critic's Choice" and won the Daily Express's "Best of the Fringe" award. Originally a seven-piece (with Luke Cresswell, Theseus Gerard, Fraser Morrison, Carl Smith, Nick Dwyer, David Olrod and Sarah Eddy), Stomp grew to be an eight person outfit with the addition of Fiona Wilkes in the autumn of '91.
Between 1991 and 1994, the original cast of Stomp played to capacity audiences around the world. The touring culminated in a season at Sadler's Wells Theatre in London in January 1994, where Stomp received an Olivier nomination for the "Best Entertainment Award" and won "Best Choreography Award in a West End show".
Stomp began its run at the Orpheum Theatre in New York City in February 1994 winning an Obie Award and a Drama Desk Award for Most Unique Theatre Experience. By the summer of 1994, the first American cast was in place at the Orpheum, freeing the original cast for a tour of North America and Japan.
An extended version of Stomp, involving up to 30 cast members, was originally created for the Brighton Festival UK and was subsequently presented in Melbourne, Australia. It was most recently seen in September 1995 in an open air production at the Acropolis in Athens and at the Royal Festival Hall in London.
Stomp performed at the Lincoln Memorial at President Clinton's Millennium celebrations. During 2000, a Sesame Street special "Let's Make Music", a collaboration between Stomp and the Muppets, was released on TV and video in North America.
Cresswell and McNicholas began production of their IMAX movie, Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey, in Brazil during Carnaval 2000 and completed it in the summer of 2002. Pulse features an international cast, with performances from Kodo, Timbalada and Eva Yerbabuena. It was released in the fall of 2002 and won two awards at La Geode's film festival in Paris the following year. In 2004 it received the ultimate IMAX Award for Best Film at the GSTA in Montreal. Pulse is still playing in IMAX theatres worldwide.
In September 2002, Stomp entered London's West End at the Vaudeville Theatre, and later that year performed as part of the Royal Variety Show for the second time. Stomp is now in its fifteenth year in London.
In 2003, a Dolby Digital trailer featuring Stomp performances debuted in cinemas worldwide, and the following year an Emmy nominated sequence was created for ABC Sports coverage of the World Figure Skating Championships.
In 2006, Stomp's New York production passed its 5000th performance mark. In the same year, Cresswell and McNicholas directed a public service announcement for television called "Stomp Out Litter", which featured the cast "sweeping up" at iconic locations in the five boroughs. They also began filming an IMAX 3D movie about South Africa's Sardine run, released in early 2008.
In addition, they were commissioned to create and produce Pandemonium: the Lost and Found Orchestra, which takes the ideas behind Stomp to a symphonic level, in celebration of 40 years of the Brighton Festival. The LFO subsequently performed at the Sydney Opera House as part of the Sydney Festival early in 2007 and at the Royal Festival Hall in London. The show was reworked and renamed for a US tour in 2010: Pandemonium: the Lost and Found Orchestra.
In August 2012, Stomp contributed to the musical segment of the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony in London.
In October 2017 the show’s creators, Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, announced that the London show would end its 15 year run in January 2018 but were quoted in an article in "The Stage" as stating that "its closure would not mark the end of Stomp in London."