Set in the ballroom of the dilapidated Swan Hotel, a group of local members of the Pendon community are brought together to organise a town pageant based on a lost piece of local history, the massacre of the Pendon Twelve - where the Earl of Dorset crushed an uprising of rebellious workers, led by John Cockle. The committee comprises disparate characters with very different views of what the pageant should be and what it represents.
As the meetings progress, the group becomes ideologically divided with the left-wing side, led by a Marxist Polytechnic teacher, building it up as a political rally. The right-wing side of the committee formulating plans for a violent confrontation in response.
The day of the pageant eventually comes with the two sides firmly entrenched and reflecting the sides of the original event. The pageant ends in chaos, having broadly recreating the original event, leaving no-one better off - especially when it turns out there is no historical authenticity to the Pendon Twelve Massacre.