“Music brought people together, at the time of The Troubles that was one of the quite striking things.” I’m talking to playwright Mial Pagan, 61, about his memories of the conflict in Northern Ireland that persisted through the last decades of the 20th century.

He left his home in Belfast in 1977 at the age of 21, eventually settling in St Albans around 20 years ago. His memories of that time have inspired his new play, Dancehall Sweethearts.

It was performed by the Company of Ten, a St Albans theatre group, at the Abbey Theatre in the Hertfordshire city at the weekend. Next month it will be performed Upstairs at the Gatehouse in Highgate, August 11, 12 and 13, as part of the Camden Fringe Festival.

“It’s about one guy’s love of music and how he gets embroiled in the troubles and that destroys his ability to hear music and appreciate it,” Mial explains.

“Eventually there is redemption, I don’t want to give too much away, but that also comes through music in the end.

“It is quite hard hitting, but there’s humanity at the heart of the play that really come out.”

Mial’s memories of The Troubles have helped the cast of Dancehall Sweethearts to really get a feel of the production and the story he is trying to tell.

He has been working closely with the director, Jo Emery, throughout the rehearsal process.

Mial tells me: “In the first few rehearsals, if the actors felt they were having problems with certain lines, as the writer listening I could hear lines that needed emphasis or didn’t work, so we worked really well together.

“It’s a great advantage for a writer to be able to do that.

“Quite often with the cast we’ll go through stories to give them context of what was happening at the time.

“There is one particular hard and quite brutal scene in the play and that was something that was happening at the time. There was tit for tat killings.”

Mial is also the author of the Dermot O’Hara detective series and Eat More Bloody Meat, a satire set in the world of advertising - an industry he once worked in.

After the production is finished he will begin working on a detective series set in St Albans.

It is a fitting move for the setting to go from his childhood home to St Albans, having now lived in both places for the same amount of time.

Upstairs at The Gatehouse, Highgate Village, London, N6 4BD, August 11, 12 and 13. Details: 020 8340 3488