Educated within the Catholic school system, Steve Capelin later graduated with an Economics degree from the University of Queensland. After a stint as a primary school teacher, and then as a clown with WEST Community Theatre Company in Melbourne, he returned to Brisbane an co-founded the Street Arts Community Theatre Company. Between 1982 and 1987 he was involved with the company as actor, director, writer and organiser. From 1988 he worked as a freelance artist in schools, on special projects and in institutions. In the early 1990s he also taught in the Queensland University of Technology's Academy of the Arts Drama Program.