By Tashanea Whitlow

CONCORD (CBS) — Actor Chris Evans returned to where it all started to help his childhood theatre company, Concord Youth Theatre (CYT), secure a permanent home.

“It was a place to feel safe and take risks, and what would ultimately lead me to my career,” Evans, a Sudbury native, said to a crowd of dozens of people outside the theatre company’s new home at 53 Church Street.

For the last several years the theatre company has operated out of several spaces, including a black box theatre in Concord which sat only about 80 people. Their new state-of-the-art theatre now holds seating for 210 people.

Actor Chris Evans speaking at Concord Youth Theatre’s opening of their new location. (WBZ-TV)

“All the kids call this place home. And we’re glad to be here in physical space that we can call home,” said 16-year-old William Owen, one of the newest members of CYT.

Chloe Kidder, a senior in high school, has been with the company since she was four. She told WBZ her confidence has grown since joining the group. “I was super shy when I was young. I gained a lot of skills just from being up on the stage.”

Chris’s mom, Lisa Evans, who also serves as the artistic director was near tears as she reflected on how the theatre company helped a 9-year-old Chris find his passion. “It means everything as a mother knowing what this place did for my children, and to watch it continue for generations to come. I hope.”

The new building is dedicated to Kay DeFord, one of the founding members of CYT.

“How many 80-year-old women can say they’ve been kissed by Captain America,” DeFord said as the crowd erupted into laughter.

Lisa Evans credits DeFord’s tough love as what drives the company’s success. “What she’s done with her life, with young people, has been nurturing and supportive and loving and educational and stern.”

The theatre company is wasting no time in its new space, already running rehearsals for their play “Godspell’ which debuts Thursday. The play, also a family affair for the Evans’, is being directed by Chris’s sister Carly, while his sister Shannon designs the costumes.

As far as Chris’s role, he’ll be an advisor. “It’s my home. Family, friends, I can’t imagine living anywhere else.”

Tashanea Whitlow

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