- In the theater, a light that produces a bright narrow beamthat can be focused on a particular actor or area of the stage. Itis usually mounted so that the beam can be directed as required. Thespotlight is one of the most powerful symbols of the theater and acting,and the term has come into general use in such expressions as inthe spotlight, meaning to be the centre of attention.
In the early 19th century limelight was used to createa spotlight effect. An arrangement of electric arc-lighting behindglass lenses was first used to spotlight the actors at the Paris Opérain 1846. In 1907 improved filaments in incandescent lamps, enablinga much higher wattage to be used, led to the creation of the firstmodern spotlights. By World War I 1000 - watt lamps were in commonuse in Europe and spotlights began to replace footlights as the primarysource of illumination. More complex arrangements of spotlights anddimmers were developed on the US stage. Modern spotlightsare often equipped with such devices as barndoor shuttersand a colour wheel. see also lighting.