Sarah Daniels’ play, set in Edwardian England, focuses on a group of women working Deptford’s Foreign Cattle Market, preparing meat for butchers. Their jobs gave them significantly more liberty than many other women at that time, both financially and through shrugging off societal expectations.
Shoshana Devora describes how the girls react to Lady Helena, a wealthy woman looking to “save” them:
Initially disdainful and presenting a unified front against Lady Helena’s attempts to suppress their spirits, the women find themselves pushed in different directions when their jobs are put at risk and they are forced to choose between low-paid menial factory work, entering service and life on the streets. Lady Helena views service as a respectable advancement from life at the gutting sheds. The women fear nothing more, understanding that service will not only force them into passive subjugation, but will also place them entirely at the whim of their masters, exposed to personal, physical and sexual threat, their financial liberty destroyed.