In recent years theatrical history has moved into the historical mainstream. Social, intellectual and, increasingly, political historians have come to take note of the theatre while scholars of all forms of dramatic presentation have become more concerned with the full range of historical relationships. The 19th and early 20th centuries were the theatrical age "par excellence". The theatre was the major mass medium of the period, with many hundreds of establishments in the major cities and most country towns boasting at least one. Almost all sectors of the public attended and through the world of entertainment and the imagination they found themselves participating (however subliminally in many cases) in an "active engagement" (in the words of J.S. Bratton) with the fundamental issues of the time. In the Victorian and Edwardian years these fundamental issues were inseparably bound up with the dominant ideology of imperialism. The ideology cluster which made up the imperial mindset had the capacity to re-arrange and re-interpret history, to infuse interpretations of contemporary events and to influence the portrayal of the tragic or comic potential of personal dilemmas. Just as science discovered, in a world laid open by imperial expansion, a vast new laboratory for scientific exploration, so did the theatre exploit the dramatic opportunities of placing human relationships and conflicts in global settings. This global exploration involved a re-ordering of social, legal, moral and racial concepts. This re-ordering occurred not only in the material of new plays but in productions of the classics, in acting values and in technical presentation. The six sections of this book examine the theatre as the locus for 19th century discourses of power and the use of stereotype in productions of the Shakespearean history canon, the development of the working class and naval hero myth of Jack Tar, the portrayal of Ireland and the Irish, the transfer of the convention of melodrama into an Indian context, the portrayal of India on the spectacular exhibition stage, and the racial implications of the ubiquitous black-face minstrelsy.