IT is a little over a year since Moorcroft – the debut play by young Renfrewshire actor-turned-playwright Eilidh Loan – had its triumphant premiere at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow.

Set, mainly, in the 1980s, the drama is inspired by the ­experiences of Loan’s father Garry and the pals who joined him in setting up the titular amateur football team, ­affectionately named “The Croft”.

The piece is balanced brilliantly ­between the men’s working-class ­humour and bonhomie, on the one hand, and the harrowing experiences (ranging from ­outbursts of prejudice to deaths within the group) that scar their lives, on the ­other.

It also boasts a fabulous soundtrack that ranges from electropop masters New Order to American disco drag queen Divine.

The play’s 2022 run was met with ­standing ovations and critical ­acclaim (including two nominations, for Best ­Ensemble and Best New Play, in the ­annual Critics’ Awards for ­Theatre in Scotland). It was clear that the ­production, which was directed by Loan herself, had to be revived.

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Consequently, the show returns to the Tron later this month, with a tour, in ­association with the National ­Theatre of Scotland (NTS) planned for the ­autumn.

I catch up with Loan during a break in rehearsals for her latest acting gig in ­London. She is, she tells me, delighted to be bringing the play back to the Tron, where it made such a splash last year.

She’s also excited that the NTS will be touring the piece to carefully selected venues around Scotland.

“We’re deliberately going to working-class communities where it will resonate,” she explains.

Everything about Moorcroft, from the vernacular in which the characters speak to the actors who play the roles, is about Loan seeking to give an authentic voice to the working-class community in which she was raised. “Authentic” is a word the playwright uses a lot.

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The veracity of the stage representation of the life experiences of her dad and his friends is very important to her. Indeed, she removed certain phrases from earlier drafts of the play because, she realised, “my dad wouldn’t say that”.

As she was writing Moorcroft, Loan never gave much thought to how the play might land with audiences. The ­drama wasn’t written to a crowd-pleasing ­formula. Rather, she continues, “the people we were making this show for were my dad and his friends, men who have never been centre stage ever before in their lives”. As she discovered early in that ­premiere run, the Moorcroft story packed an ­emotional punch.

That was particularly true in relation to the members of the team who lost their lives back in the 80s.

“The ­families of some of the real Moorcroft boys who aren’t with us anymore were sitting in the first couple of rows at the Tron,” Loan ­remembers. “They were getting to see their boys again for an hour-and-a-half.”

If the play was particularly poignant for bereaved family members, it had a powerful impact on audiences in general. “I was holding hands with my dad at that first performance, watching everybody rise to their feet,” says the playwright.

“The reaction from my father was something that I’ll never forget. He ­realised that he had done something of note with his life, that people were ­celebrating his story, and also learning from his mistakes and his regrets.”

Given the well-established propensity of west of Scotland, working-class men to keep their emotional cards close to their chest, how, I wonder, did Loan get access to the stories that are told in her play? Her dad was raised, the dramatist tells me, by a father who fitted the ­emotionally reluctant mould.

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However, when he became the father of two daughters, Garry resolved to buck the trend. “He’s a very open man,” Loan says. “We talk about everything. It has ­always been that way.”

The playwright feels “very privileged” to have such a healthy relationship with her father. “I didn’t realise how special it was,” she continues, “until I grew up and realised not everyone has that kind of ­relationship.”

The play is built from conversations Loan recorded with her dad and other members of the original Moorcroft team. It’s also based on personal memory.

“I used to go and watch Moorcroft play when I was wee,” the writer recalls.

By that time, she says, Garry stood on the sidelines due to wear-and-tear on his knees.

While her father shouted his support to his mates on the pitch, little Eilidh would take responsibility for the ­players’ water bottles and half-time oranges. Then, ­suddenly, Garry stopped going to watch The Croft, and her weekly football outings came to an end.

A few years later, when she was 14, Loan asked her father why he stopped going to matches. It was then that ­Garry explained how Moorcroft came to be known as “the cursed football team” on account of the numerous deaths that had occurred among its players.

So were the seeds sown in Loan’s mind for a drama about the tragedies that ­befell, and the solidarity that ­sustained, her dad’s amateur football club. The ­outcome is a play that is ­balanced ­beautifully between humour and anguish.

INDEED, Moorcroft is unusual in its ability to be accessible without making any concessions to the logic of commercial theatre. None of the drama’s difficult themes – ranging from racism and homophobia to bereavement – are watered down in order to make the piece more palatable to audiences.

The playwright seeks to deflect praise for these attributes of her play away from herself and on to her dad and his pals. “I give all the credit for that to the men that I grew up with,” she insists.

“I didn’t know how to write a play, I’d never written one before. So the style of writing is very character driven, it’s based on the way that these people speak to each other.”

In these days of reductive, social ­media-driven “culture wars”, it is ­refreshing to see a play in which the concept of ­“masculinity” isn’t joined automatically to the negative adjective “toxic”. Like any young woman in the 21st century, Loan is absolutely aware of toxic masculinity.

However, she is also firmly of the ­opinion that other masculinities are available. She is tired, she says, of “the stereotypes of the working-class man” that abound in our culture.

Those stereotypes, she continues, “are not reflective of the men I grew up with”.

“The men I grew up with – for all that they don’t like to talk about their feelings and they’re very guarded – they’d give you their last penny.

“They’re kind, they’re caring, they’re funny, they’re charismatic, they’re ­confident, they’re insecure. They are complex human beings, they can’t just be reduced to this term ‘toxic masculinity’.”

One is forced to move away from ­reductive labels, Loan observes, the ­moment one starts dealing in “lived ­experience”. As audiences at the Tron and throughout Scotland are about to ­discover, the beauty of Moorcroft is that – from its moments of ­humour to its scenes of heart-breaking sadness – it is rooted, firmly and ­honestly, in real human experience.

Moorcroft is at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow, July 13-29: The National Theatre of Scotland will tour the production in the autumn: