The Nack Theater

By Yvonne Brown

Sharing time and conversation with Donny Churchman, owner of Nack Theater, and Jason Young, operator, in the surrounds of this quaint venue is a tonic. According to the dictionary, a tonic is described as something “that invigorates, restores, refreshes, or stimulates,” and that’s exactly how I left the meeting upon listening to how these two local businessmen and friends operate this venue for the Frisco community.  

Community is, in fact, consistently at the forefront of their minds, and both gentlemen share a passion to be involved in various ways. 
Standing tall and proud on the corner of Oak and 2nd Street in The Rail District area of Frisco, the Nack Theater was constructed on a piece of land Churchman purchased in 2017. An old, abandoned dwelling was knocked down, and he soon set about making plans to develop a theater. “I had been approached by a local organization who needed a home for children’s theater,” he explains. “However, it soon morphed into an entertainment venue for the community.” It officially opened in 2021.
On the outside, its warm red brick surrounds a pop of black and yellow at the front to reveal a vintage-style ticket booth sitting atop three steps gently signaling a nostalgic nod to the past. No mistaking the name of the theater, “The Nack” name is front and center. Nack was Donny’s grandparents’ name – two role models in his life who were committed to serving their community in California throughout their lives and careers. 
 Passing through the cozy foyer and once inside, you immediately feel a sense of warmth. The theater holds 210 people in very comfortable seats that can be configured in different ways depending on the event. I can personally attest to the fact that no matter what seat you choose to sit in, you will have an excellent view, and it almost feels like you are cozied up on a couch at home watching a live performance in your living room. “That’s exactly the feeling I want people to have,” Donny nods. “It was always intended to be a small, old-school theater that people can experience good old-fashioned entertainment in an intimate setting. It’s a special place with nothing else like it in the area.”
Many people who visited have assumed it was a historic building refurbished, which Churchman takes as a complete compliment. “Even my mom asked – ‘What was this building before?’” That’s confirmation enough, he hit the right notes on creating a quaint, old-style community theater. 
Artist and muralist Patrick Ganino had been collaborating with Rail District businesses and producing wonderful murals around Frisco. He had already collaborated with Churchman on a project at the Patios at the Rail and the old Ford building, and it made sense to work with him again to create something for the outside of the theater. The result was a 25-foot-tall train engine emerging from a tunnel, so fitting for the Rail District area and reminding folks of Frisco’s roots as a railroad town. 
In speaking to Patrick, he explained the process for the design: “Once completed, I feel like it added such a wonderful piece of interest to an already very cool building. Creating a mural unique to a location usually begins with me presenting a few mockups to see where the client’s mind resonates. For this mural, there were a few ideas presented, but the train was hands down the favorite.”
A couple of years ago, community advocate Jason Young, owner of event venue Verona Villa, started collaborating with Churchman. He has become the creative brains behind researching and sourcing the performances and curating events to present at the venue. Young grew up in California and rubbed shoulders with many in Hollywood and has always been interested in the entertainment business. 
 The ideas coming out of the collaboration and friendship are all community-centric, and they are both focused on helping The Rail District area to thrive. The Nack is not meant to be state-of-the-art but more focused on good old-fashioned theater. One of its most successful events was Frisco’s Got Talent. This event was significant in determining the theater not only as a venue for established artists to perform but also as an incubator for talent in the arts arena. 
“There is so much talent in our community,” explains Young. “We want people to find their significance, and now we provide this space where we can spotlight and showcase it all.” 
Local resident Angela Dunford is mom to Wes, whose band Revelation entered the competition. They enjoyed an amazing, unique experience, placing third, and eventually held their own concert at the Nack. “The Revelation concert at the Nack Theater kind of marks a turning point for the band in my mind. I’m so grateful Jason was willing to put himself out there and give these kids a stage and make this incredible experience happen for them, which has led to so many more opportunities. I just feel so lucky that our family happens to live in a place where local kids like my son can really grow as performers and musicians if they want to, and for us, the Nack Theater is at the center of all of it.”
The band ranges in age from 11-13 years old, and this event was the launchpad to opening more doors of opportunity to perform at many other events around town. Her son Wes describes the feeling of connecting with the Nack: “It was an amazing experience, and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to perform there. We got to experience something totally new being in front of a bunch of people that we don’t know for the first time, and it created this sort of excitement for us as a band that made us feel like we want to keep doing this and perform at more venues and for new audiences.”

 Allen police officer Chris Hester is also a magician and had his first magic show there. In summing up his experience, he shares, “As a magician, I’ve always felt that true magic comes from connecting with the audience and creating memorable experiences. A quote I try to live by is, ‘The magic behind magic isn’t the illusion, it’s that someone cared enough to create the illusion for you.’ The Nack Theater embodies that philosophy. They create opportunities for local artists who may have never stepped on a stage by hosting talent shows. They care about bringing families together to create special memories. There’s an authenticity and genuineness to the Nack Theater’s approach that’s often missing in today’s superficial world. I love what they’re doing!”
 
Over time, the general feedback has all been very positive. Local artists, bands, and performers have embraced the great acoustics and sound. Churchman and Young acknowledge the fact there is great value to word of mouth, as friends have told friends and bands from all over Texas, and even Nashville, are drawn to performing there. Well-known local businesswoman, arts advocate, and musician Tammy Meinershagen has sold out two intimate and interactive concerts there. 
The Maylee Thomas Band has performed many times, describing their experience as rewarding. Band member George Fuller explains, “The Nack is a great venue that is large enough to deliver an exciting and energetic show while quaint enough to provide an intimate experience between the artist and the audience.”
Famous names like Chevy Chase have played the Nack, and David Gaschen, who performed Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, is scheduled for his 4th concert there this December. “The Nack is a perfect sized theater to have a very intimate and personal concert! I love the fact that I feel so close to my audience when I perform there! I can see everyone’s face and can see their reactions to my performance! The sound system is excellent, and you can set up the audience any way you want!” Gaschen shares. 
Looking to the future, the intention was always to provide a much-needed live entertainment space for the city of Frisco and The Rail District. While the Nack is a generalized venue for events, the hope is it will go on to be known as a historical community theater in the city with the purpose of bringing people together. 
 “It’s a challenge to book performances and choose the right acts. It’s been a trial-and-error process,” Young states, “and there have been winners and losers along the way.” 
Regular Comedy nights will play a big part in its future, along with plays, concerts, dance recitals, improv, and even weddings. Just recently, an acting school, the brainchild of Adam Lowder from Anytown Actors reserved some dates and will be offering classes for both adults and children. 
Anything is possible. There are eyeballs from outside Frisco and beyond on this venue. The theater is part of a long-term passion and vision beyond just the four walls and concrete. Over time it will evolve, and there are plans to extend one side of the structure to offer a permanent outdoor dining and drinks area. 
One thing is clear: both Donny Churchman and Jason Young want the venue to bring people together in Frisco and benefit the local Rail District area. The Nack is all about focusing on a positive experience for all. 
For all information, including booking the Nack Theater, please reach out to: Jason Young at 972-837-8034 or visit info@vvvenues.com. The Nack Theater is located at 6711 Oak Street, Frisco, Texas 75033.
Visit www.nacktheater.com to learn about upcoming events and for ticket sales.
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