Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Winter 2020

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Theatre Studies

Committee Chair

Emily Rollie

Second Committee Member

Christina Barrigan

Third Committee Member

Lily Vuong


The existing scholarship on the work of British playwright Sarah Kane mostly focuses on exploring the use of extreme acts of violence in her plays. However, few scholars like Dr. Graham Saunders and Anabelle Singer can trace it back to the rejection of her Christian beliefs during her adolescence. This thesis explores how Kane used violence and images of impalement, dismemberment, and cross-dressing in her third play, Cleansed as a vehicle to examine and validate her notions of gender and sexuality as well as her developing post-Christian spirituality. Through the critical textual analysis of Cleansed in conjunction with scholarly literature regarding her work, I explore Kane’s life and spiritual background and tie them to the biblical allusions in the play and Kane’s adaptation thereof.