MEERTA– Rise Up! The Ballad of James Arden

Producer: David Arden Gunditjmara/Kokatha songman and storyteller
Writer: David Arden
Directed By: David Arden and Daniel Jauregui

Beautiful, tender and heartwarming storytelling by acclaimed Gunditjmara/Kokatha songman David Arden

Synopsis

MEERTA– Rise Up! The Ballad of James Arden brings together a deadly team of artists led by accomplished Gunditjmara/Kokatha singer-songwriter, David Arden. MEERTA is a creative piece of powerful truth-telling and warm heartfelt theatre. MEERTA tells David’s own story and the story of his Great Grandfather James Arden, & the Gunditjmara People– a story of identity, friendship, racism, justice, freedom & fighting for your rights. MEERTA is a message of strength, hope and understanding. The show incorporates stunning visual design that amplifies the poignancy of David’s original compositions.

Short Reviews

Dave Arden’s Meerta, Rise Up the James Arden story. Just brilliant! Moving stories great songs and a powerful band. Congratulations Dave and thanks for sharing your songs and stories.
Marcia Howard – Goanna Band
It was a deeply personal and heartfelt show, and David communicated his feelings beautifully – love; warmth; gratitude; sadness; yearning; hope – through his songs and stories which grew out of his direct experience
Jessica Nicholas The Age
Meerta - Rise Up! is a wonderful journey into the story of a man, a family, a people, and a country. Spanning orchestral soft rock, blues, country and folk, the music moves between narrative and concept. It is always powerful and draws the listener in to hear every word.
Samsara Dunstan What Did She Think? - 4 STARS

Video

Additional Videos

Technical Information

Touring Party: 8-10 musicians, 1 cultural liaison, I engineer, I producer (10-13)
Bump-in Time: 3-5 hrs hrs
Bump-out Time: 2 hrs hrs
Interval: No

Lighting

Company can be adaptable to different performance spaces and equipment substitutes can be discussed.

The production is designed to fit into most venues standard lighting rigs with only minor changes and additions of specials.

LIGHTING (list from Melbourne premiere) Basic lighting wash on band with colour wash spots for atmosphere -noting back screen for projections and AV

  • 6 X Robin Viva CMY
  • 6 X Robin 300 LED Wash
  • 4 X Robin Parfect 150 FW
  • 6 X ETC Colorsource PAR (Deep Blue)
  • 4 X Colorsource Spot Pearl (50 Degree)
  • 2 X ShowPro EF 26 Degree
  • Acclaim Fresnel’s 1kw
  • PAR 64 CP61 (NSP) 1kw-
  • All cabling and lighting desk
  • Desk lamps for operators

Audio

SOUND

  • In house PA
  • Working Venue Front of House System
  • Range of multi-length XLR Cables for all cabling needs
  • Mics – stands
  • 24ch digital mixer
  • 10x monitor sub mixes
  • 10x wedges
  • Company will supply wireless EIM system- 2x wireless XLR send (note: company to provide TX/TR IEM)6x Di

See tech rider/ stage plot document for specific stage layout.

Back Line

  • Drum Kit and rug X 1 (drummer to supply cymbals and snare )
  • Pearl masters 20\” kit 14\” snare 10\”+12\” rack Tom 14\”+ 16\”
  • Bass amp x 1
  • Guitar Amp x1
  • Keyboard stand 2 tier.
  • Drums stools x2
  • Music stand x 6
  • Armless chair x2

For small venues the company would be self-sufficient touring unit with own PA audio technician.

  • 2x FOH
  • 2X Wedges
  • 4x IEM monitors
  • 1x18ch digital mixer
  • Cable pack
  • Mic Stands X8

Staging

  • Projection screen/s for visuals required.
  • Epson 12k projector + Standard lens X1 or substitute (8000Almin)
  • 1 X Projector screen 4.1 x 2.3 16:9
  • 2 x LCD 65\” monitor and stand (would only need if is a larger venue and requires it for sightlines)
  • Company to provide Laptop or USB for AV operation
  • AV and LX cue sheet will be provided

Piano if available

Stage Plans supplied in drop box link

Crew Notes

The Presenter will be required to supply the Production/Technical Staff but the company will travel with their own engineer

All technical information and Stage Plans supplied in drop box link

Company can adapt touring party to suit different size spaces/venues

Transport Notes

  • 2 x Mini Vans

Audience & Marketing Notes

MEERTA captivates both First Nations and non-First Nations audiences alike through its fusion of powerful musical storytelling and rich cultural narratives.

David takes audiences on an unforgettable journey, weaving together elements of soul, country, rhythm ‘n blues, and soft rock, infused with his unique life experiences.

MEERTA offers theatre, music lovers and anyone captivated by the depth of our shared human story a meaningful avenue to connect with Aboriginal history & truth telling.

Selling Points

  • The show is a powerful and intimate journey based around hope and understanding. The show will allow audiences to experience firsthand the power of truth telling to heal and connect that will uplift their spirits.
  • It offers a unique opportunity to intimately connect with Dave Arden, a highly talented singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With a career spanning over three decades in the Australian music scene, Dave has collaborated with legendary figures of Aboriginal music, such as the late Uncle Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter.
  • MEERTA is inspired by all those that have gone before on this ancestral land to help audiences and community understand past injustices and to promote cultural awareness.

Community Engagement

  • Opportunity to connect and engage with local First Nations organisations and community groups.
  • Opportunity to connect and engage with local First Nations organisations and community groups.
  • We have a cultural producer ready to help facilitate and help with connections to local mob and schools
  • As former Koori Educator David is keen to work with local KESOS and teachers prior to the show to share information on his cultural and personal journey to local schools & wider community. He is a great storyteller.
  • Q & A’s post show on issues raised by the performance will be valuable opportunities to engage your community in discussing timely topics.
  • We would work with you in inviting representatives from the local mob & First Nations community to attend & participate in Welcome to Country.

Content Warning

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and all peoples should be aware that MEERTA – Rise Up! The Ballad of James Arden and the associated songs, videos & website may contain the images, voices and or names of people who have passed away.

Details

Contact

Jill

Morgan AM

0425776522

Audience

Venue Format

Proscenium Arch, Black Box, Studio, Theatre, Flat floor, Hall

Duration

70 mins Minutes

Available Until (from - to)

01/03/2025

22/12/2026

Budget & Fees

What are these? Find out more.

In Development - work which will be produced and premiered in time for touring during 2025/2026. Please contact the Producer directly for Budgets and Fees.

Remount: $6,000

Weekly Sell Off: $35,500

Per Performance: $10,200

Apra Obligations: Original compositions

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