Theatre Terms

image of question markHere you'll find over 1000 definitions of theatrical terms, from Aside, Beam Angle, and Camlock, to Upstaging, VU Meter, and Wagon.  Fully searchable, our glossary is helpful for technical staff, directors, actors, producers, or anyone wanting to better understand the inner workings of theatre.

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Term Definition Cross Reference Link
GOBO A thin metal plate (also called a pattern) etched to produce a design which can then be projected by a profile spotlight (e.g. foliage, windows). The image can be used soft focus to add texture, rather than a defined image. A number of composite gobos in different colored lamps can, with careful focusing, produce a colored image (e.g. a stained glass window). Greater detail can be achieved using a glass gobo. The original use of the word came from the early days of Hollywood. When the director of photography wanted daylight excluded from some area of the set, he'd say "Go Black Out". People would run around putting black material between the sun and the set. It eventually evolved into other objects that go in front of lights and now most commonly refers to patterns in profiles.
GOBO HOLDER A metal plate designed to hold a gobo of a particular size in a lamp of a particular type.
GOBO ROTATOR Motorized device inserted into the gate of a profile lamp that can be remotely controlled to rotate a gobo, usually with variable speed and direction.
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