Scenic Design - Ann Davis

Ann Davis Brings Scenic Designs to Life with High Quality Theater Fabrics

Name: Ann Davis

Occupation: Production Manager/Technical Director at Theatre at the Center.

Ann Davis, Production Manager & Technical Director at Theatre at the Center, is well-renowned in her industry for her passion to create true works of art with set designs. While planning and budgeting shows for Theater at the Center, Ann is particularly notorious for her rare ability to not only conceptualize a scenic design, but also construct them into stunning and transformative stage sets.

Ann recently sat down to discuss how superior theatre fabrics from Chicago Canvas & Supply have contributed to her spectacular portfolio.

Here’s what she had to say:

1. What’s your background in theater production?

I have a Bachelor’s in Industrial Technology (Road and Building Construction), with a minor in Fine Art and a Master’s in Scenic Design.I’ve worked full time for 17 years, the last 8 of which as both Technical Director and Production Manager. I’ve also free lanced throughout my entire career, doing Scenic Design, Scenic Painting and Technical Direction, as well as teaching in different capacities.


2. What’s involved with your current role at Theatre at The Center?

I’m involved in all aspects of creating, from planning stages to implementation. Fiscal budgeting, facilitating and planning all technical needs for shows, capital procurement on projects, maintenance of space, responsibility for all production staffing including special events, drafting technical drawings in AutoCad, scenery install and paint.


3. That’s a lot! How do you keep up?

There’s always problem-solving going on, and that keeps my job interesting. I also rely on Chicago Canvas & Supply to get the best fabrics whenever I need them.


4. How long have you been using CCS fabrics?

For about 15 years.


5. What turned you into a repeat customer?

Chicago Canvas fabrics are cost-efficient, which is important for our business. They’re top-notch fabrics that work within our theater budget and give us the versatility to manifest even our most difficult designs. With Chicago Canvas & Supply, we know our money is going to the right places.The service is also very friendly and quick—we always know we’ll get our fabrics within a day or two of ordering.


6. What are your favorite go-to fabrics for your stage sets?

We love the light-weight muslin for stage backdrops, often painted by our Charge Scenic Painter Jessie Howe. Alice Broughton, our Costume Shop Manager who specializes in draping and the lost art of patterning, also uses the light-weight muslin to construct all mock-ups of hand-crafted costumes.We use duvetyn and commando cloth for backstage masking.We always receive our fabrics quickly, which is appreciated for our production schedule. Chicago Canvas & Supply offers the quality of service we need, and have the best materials for the cost.


7. What has been your favorite project thus far using CCS fabrics

Probably the Little Shop of Horrors plants. We built three plants from scratch–one of the original Jim Henson fiberglass forms was used as a base shape to create an entirely new, large Audrey plant.

Little Shop of Horrors - Linen Gauze Fabric

Photo: Property of Theatre at the Center Credited to Michael Brosilow

The plant was covered in two-part foam, carved, and then sculpted with CCS linen gauze fabric. The multitudes of leaves were sewn from varying materials including linen gauze and muslin.

The skirt which covered the actor’s escape, and the leaves which masked the escape, housed the fabric-based tentacles that were also part of the puppet’s movement. The skirt was 30 feet in diameter, making this a large dual project between the Scene Shop and Costume Shop.




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For information on performing arts programming, including current shows, tickets, education and more, visit:

To see more work from Ann Davis, check out her blog:

For fabulous costume mock-ups by Alice Broughton (made with CCS lightweight muslin) visit her website:

Chicago Canvas & Supply offers diverse range of stage curtains and theater fabrics to suit your budget and create your best production:


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