How can you avoid creating a play simply about blame, analysing the police role or the pressure the middle classes brought to bear on media reporting?
It seems writing duo Kieran Hurley and Julia Taudevin have come up with the answer; you humanise the story.
Their new play Chalk Farm runs at Oran Mor this week, part of the Play, Pie And a Pint series, and it features a mother/son relationship.
"We wanted to respond to the English riots," says Kieran, who lives in Glasgow.
"Well, that was the start of the idea. But we didn't want to write a polemic."
So what were the riots about, and how did you manage to come up with a piece of work that informs and entertains?
"Well, I think it's all too easy to say the riots were about badness," says the former Glasgow University Theatre Studies student.
"It's to do with marginalisation, but then a lot of the young people were not looking to be political.
"And we know that things kicked off because of a of a huge police error, this sparked the mood and then people joined it.
"But it's a complicated issue. What we're not doing is telling people what to think, but offer a different perspective, come at it from a human angle."
With that decided, Kieran and Julia, who stars in the play, came up with the storyline.
"It features a young single mother, Maggie, and her teenage boy, Jamie.
"Maggie is a character who tries her best to build a world and make her son safe, and she's really worked hard to be able to live in Chalk Farm, a respectable area.
"She's proud of being able to give Jamie this platform for a better life. But when he gets caught up in the riots it raises questions; what she's done right – and wrong?
"Are single mums ruining the fabric of society as politicians have been claiming?"
The essence of Chalk Farm is a generation gap story.
The riots forms the backdrop but the play looks at reasons why teenagers and their parents can live in the same house, can love each other, but for a period of time, they can't hold a conversation.
"Yet they need each other," says 26 year-old Kieran.
"We've all been through that scenario, and I suppose if I have a teenager then I'll go through that once again, but with a different perspective."
The play has a dark backdrop, but also a strong comedic element.
"We're not bogged down in the seriousness of it all. Jamie is an entertaining character," he said. "And it was great to write for a teenage character.
"And when Maggie talks directly giving her side of the story there's a real mix of light and shade."
Kieran brings a great deal of experience to the production, work at the Arches Theatre led to him creating his own hit solo show Hitch, about how he hitched all the way to the G8 conference in L'Aquila, stopping off in Rome for a Patti Smith concert. It's a story about hope and inspiration.
The writer-performer also came up with Beats, which ran at the Edinburgh Festival this year and focused on dance music and what a sense of community really means.
It's clear Hurley and Taudevin are keen to explore the human condition, to look at what binds individuals together.
But is it difficult working together given the pair also have a personal relationship?
"Julia was a co-director on Beats, and I've taken on a similar role in her work and it seems to work," he says, smiling.
"We came up with the idea for Chalk Farm together and when the ideas start flowing, creating the characters we felt we were singing from the same hymn sheet.
"In fact, there are some bits of the play we can't remember who wrote what. It's a shared experience."
But the couple know they have to be able to separate life from work.
"Yes, that's true," he adds, grinning.
"We spend a lot of time, talking through the characters we're creating making them real, and that works because we have the luxury of this time together.
"However, we know you have to stop at a certain time, otherwise you can get caught up in discussing what went right or wrong, at the wrong times."
He adds, grinning; "But it's working out fine. We're still speaking."
n Chalk Farm, runs at Oran Mor until Saturday and also stars Sean Brown.