This article argues that theatre in colonial India – both in the form of touring companies and amateur dramatics – offered much more than mere entertainment: first, it was an important social space where the British diaspora constituted itself as a community. Secondly, it served as a lifeline to the home country. By watching theatrical performances either brought to them straight from London or which they performed themselves, colonial Britons felt in touch with their homeland. Finally, theatre not only allowed colonial audiences to participate in the metropolitan culture; it inadvertently helped to unify the British empire. Whether living in London, the provinces, or a colonial city, all British subjects consumed the same popular culture, forming in effect one big taste community. Theatre, therefore, lends itself to a discussion of central issues of imperial history, as, for example, the relationship between the metropolitan centre and the imperial periphery, the colonial public sphere, social and racial hierarchies, the perception of the ‘Other’, and processes of cross-cultural exchange and appropriation.