The first of two projects exploring what good behavior means for women of all ages in the 21st century

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Who decides what good behaviour is? What are the rules for twenty-first century women?

The rules we’ve been taught.
The ones we have inherited.
The ones we always obey.
The ones we pass on.

What are the rules around how things are, or should be done, and are these any use to us today? What happens when you bring together a diverse group of East London women aged between 14 and 80 to solve dilemmas of modern etiquette? Will they agree? Will it be complete culture clash? Is it clear cut, old vs. young in matters of good behaviour and rules for living?

In 2016, Magic Me brought together 21 women from a range of backgrounds, ethnicities and faiths – 10 teenagers from the Mulberry School for Girls and 11 older women age 60+ from across Tower Hamlets to consider Decorum and good behaviour for modern women.

Working with our Associate Artist theatre practitioner Sue Mayo and dance artist Ellie Sikorski, over 10 weeks the intergenerational group explored expectations for women’s behaviour, and what happens if you challenge societal norms of what to wear, what to say, when to speak and when to be quiet?

The resulting show – a mix of performance, conversation and uncalled for advice Decorum: Dilemmas for Twenty-First Century Women was presented at the Women of the World Festival at Southbank Centre and at the Mulberry School’s own International Women’s Day celebrations in March 2017.

During the show, the group asked the audience for decorum dilemmas to solve in their mobile interview and advice booths (under their umbrellas!). The group shared their golden rules of modern etiquette and dug into their treasure trove of random advice e.g. “When in doubt, wave back.” “Toothpaste is good for cleaning trainers.” and “Be bad when it’s the right thing to do.”

Find out about our latest Decorum project here

Photo credits: Roxene Anderson for Magic Me.

This project was in partnership with Mulberry School for Girls. With thanks to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Clifford Chance Foundation and the Lucas Tooth Trust. We are pleased to announce that thanks to the generosity of Arts Council England and the Garfield Weston Trust we will be embarking on a new phase of Decorum in Autumn 2018.