The Marsh Berkeley to Present Talkbacks & Special Events for Run of BREED OR BUST

Events will take place May 18, May 25, and June 8.

By: May. 17, 2024
The Marsh Berkeley to Present Talkbacks & Special Events for Run of BREED OR BUST
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The timely, entertaining, and thought-provoking solo show Breed or Bust by award-winning actor, director, and “story midwife” Joyful Raven at The Marsh Berkeley, has scheduled a series of talkbacks and special events to engage the community on May 18, May 25, and June 8. Select performances will be followed by audience talkbacks with speakers including stillbirth prevention and reproductive justice advocate Suzanne Pullen, and guest expert in the field of abortion rights Dr. Grace Howard, plus a lively pre-show event curated by Sexual Folklorist Dixie De La Tour (more details below). Breed or Bust takes audiences on a subversive and hilarious journey through female reproductive options, from the taboos of abortion to the nuances often left out of these important conversations.

 In Breed or Bust, Raven reckons with her reproductive choices and contends with her primal baby-making instincts. With her “clock ticking down,” she reflects on the complex relationship between womanhood and motherhood. Should she surrender to the role of weird aunt, or should she start a GoFundMe to freeze her geriatric eggs? Breed or Bust, performed by Joyful Raven and directed by Jael Weisman, will be presented 8pm Saturdays, now through June 8, 2024, at The Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley. For tickets ($20-$35 sliding scale, $50 and $100 reserved) or more information, the public may visit

May 18: A talkback with Suzanne Pullen – moderated by solo performer Joyful Raven 

Suzanne Pullen is an educator in Human Communication whose applied research focus has been on improving the interactions between patients and healthcare providers, with a specialty in traumatic death and stillbirth bereavement. Pullen is a stillbirth advocate with a commitment to reproductive justice who has presented at international conferences and local hospitals about the communication needs of parents experiencing the death of a baby. Since 2005, she has been co-creating public memorial services, performances and rituals for bereaved families whose children have died. She currently is a lecturer in Communication Studies at San Francisco State University and in Rhetoric and Languages at the University of San Francisco. She has been teaching since 2008 and has a sub-specialty in Health Communication, with a focus on trauma and bereavement training. Pullen is a former reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle and volunteers with stillbirth advocacy groups including Star Legacy Foundation, First Candle and the International Stillbirth Alliance and has also experience working with, and advocating for, LBGTQ+ families. 

May 25: A talkback with Dr. Grace Howard – moderated by solo performer Joyful Raven 

Dr. Grace Howard is an Associate Professor of Justice Studies at San José State University.  She earned her Ph.D. in Political Science at Rutgers University, with concentrations in Women and Politics and Public Law. Her new book, The Pregnancy Police: Conceiving Crime, Arresting Personhood is available on June 4 and will be discussed during the talkback. Dr. Howard is a Public Voices Fellow for the 2023-2024 academic year. She was an American Fellow with the American Association for University Women and is Co-Director of the Rutgers University Informed Consent Project. She has authored several published works, including The Pregnancy Police: Surveillance, Regulation, and Control in Harvard Law and Policy Review, The Gender of Crime (2nd edition), The Limits of Pure White: Raced Reproduction in the Methamphetamine Crisis, in the Women's Rights Law Reporter, and Informed or Misinformed Consent?: Abortion Policy in the United States, published in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. Her research areas include reproductive law and politics, law and society, bioethics, criminal justice, gender and public policy, feminist theory, and critical race theory. Her body of work explores reproductive law and policy, and the dimensions of legal personhood for people with the capacity for pregnancy. 

June 8: An opening act of “Bawdy Storytelling” with Dixie De La Tour 

For more than 15 years, “Bawdy Storytelling” has featured true stories of sex, kink, body image, gender and more to build community, educate, entertain, and bring people together. “Bawdy Storytelling” features an eclectic mix of authors, poets, comedians and actors, and people who share their (true) adventures in 10 minutes or less. Sexual folklorist Dixie De La Tour curates submitted stories, then works with experienced and first-time storytellers to create a one-of-a-kind evening for each and every Bawdy. Her coaching superpowers tease out surprisingly powerful stories of sex, kink or gender. Then at showtime, De La Tour coaches the audience to create an emotionally supportive, unintimidating, and sex-positive atmosphere that’s unique, engaging and fun.  
Breed or Bust recently concluded a critically acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it garnered an Off West End Theatre Award (Offie) nomination. Critics in Scotland praised the show calling it a “masterful approach to storytelling. Seductive, shocking, and heart-warming to the extreme” (Theatre Weekly UK), “a fun and feminist look at one of life’s perennial dilemmas, freshly told,” (The List UK) and “a riveting personal story that is funny, shocking and insightful, offering a sensitive and innovative exploration of the pressures and taboos surrounding female reproductive choices” (The Independent UK). This riveting and riotous show made its world premiere at PlayGround San Francisco in its 2022 Solo Performance Festival and was given an encore limited run in fall 2022 at the Potrero Stage where the San Francisco Examiner lauded Raven, noting that she “tells it openly, without self-pity or sentimentality. And she tells it funny.” It has also been performed in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, where it received a Producer’s Encore Award, a Gold Medal from TV-olution, and was nominated for Best Comedy amongst more than 400 shows.

Photo credit: Elijah Nouvelage


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