Mr Ewbank, tenting contractor for all outside and inside occasions is organising the marquee for his daughter's wedding. His team of labourers banter and backbite as they work, erecting a huge muslin tent. The audience watch as these skilled men come together to facilitate an event they won't be attending, and come back the following day, after the fun has been had, to remove the construction again. Meanwhile, Ewbank watches as his labour and business are reined to deliver a send-off that will mark a fundamental shift in his working and family life.
Described by the Observer as 'A subtle and poetic parable about the nature and joy of skilled work, the meaning of community and the effect of its loss', The Contractor was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre, London, on 20 October 1969.