Dane has started the next act in his life.
A fall from a four-storey building in 2000 left him severely injured and unable to walk.
That cost him his job and he ended up living in his truck. He began using drugs to manage his pain and for awhile it became a way of life.
But the former University of Victoria theatre student desperately wanted to flip the script.
“I had an epiphany,” he recalled. “What am I doing being involved in this lifestyle?” he asked himself.
The first step was getting shelter, which he found through the Lookout Emergency Aid Society.
“They gave me an opportunity to start again. Living at the Lookout has given me self-esteem,” he said. “It’s given me a new perspective.”
With a roof over his head, Dane got involved in the community kitchen and began making other positive changes in his life.
He felt unconditional acceptance from the Lookout staff whom he thanks for “judging me solely on today, rather than yesterday.”
The Lookout also gave him an opportunity to revisit one of his real passions: acting.
Dane was a veteran of Back Alley Theatre who’d also attended Vancouver’s William Davis Centre for Actors Study and has been in over 15 movies as an extra, including several episodes of X-Files. He last preformed on stage in the early 1990s.
His stage comeback began when the manager of his building encouraged him to join a local community theatre group comprised of actors who live or work on the Downtown Eastside and who have experienced homelessness or are currently vulnerably housed.
The group is led by veteran Bard on the Beach actor Luisa Jojic who created and directed the theatre company’s first production, Much Ado About Something performed at the Carnegie Centre and Waterfront Theatre in 2014.
From Oct. 28 to 30, the group is performing For A Muse of Fire, presented by Creativa International, as part of the as part of the 2015 Heart of the City Festival. The Shakespeare-infused, live performance piece is set on a bus and explores themes of community, diversity and homelessness in Vancouver.
Dane plays the role of Puck, a “a mythical Shakespearean character who we have updated to a modern-day perspective.”
“It’s been written by us and we touch on homelessness, we touch on drugs, we touch on First Nations rights, we touch on upper to middle-class viewpoints of people on the Downtown Eastside and it just really shines through in its humanity.”
Getting back on stage has helped Dane continue his transformation.
“It’s given me inspiration to try to take my foot and place it in the normal path of productive human experience again rather than dwell on the pain and the hurt, it’s given me a chance to open up and heal. I feel great.”
It’s also got him thinking positively about his future roles.
“For me I’m going to try and take it further and start auditioning for film.”
For a Muse of Fire is presented by Creativa International in partnership with Lookout Emergency Aid Society, RainCity Housing, and Vancouver Moving Theatre/ Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival with support from the City of Vancouver’s Community Arts and Homelessness Action Week programs, and the BC Arts Council.
The performances run Oct. 28, 29, 30 at 8 p.m. at Interurban Gallery, 1 East Hastings Street. Admission is by donation and the venue is wheelchair accessible.
Discussions with audience and performers to follow each performance.