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‘With the piano keys echoing around the hall, I start to get a hot prickling sensation behind my eyes. Oh my God, am I going to cry?’

A new theatre show helps audience members get over their fear of singing by celebrating former failures in a warbling group therapy session. Can it help Kirsty Blake Knox overcome a past singing trauma?

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Kirsty Blake Knox taking part in 'Sing Your Failures' guided by Michelle O'Rourke. Picture: Mark Condren

Kirsty Blake Knox taking part in 'Sing Your Failures' guided by Michelle O'Rourke. Picture: Mark Condren

Kirsty Blake Knox joining in with the 'Sing Your Failures' choir. Picture: Mark Condren

Kirsty Blake Knox joining in with the 'Sing Your Failures' choir. Picture: Mark Condren

Kirsty Blake Knox taking part in 'Sing Your Failures'. Picture: Mark Condren

Kirsty Blake Knox taking part in 'Sing Your Failures'. Picture: Mark Condren

Kirsty Blake Knox with the 'Sing Your Failures' choir. Picture: Mark Condren

Kirsty Blake Knox with the 'Sing Your Failures' choir. Picture: Mark Condren

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Kirsty Blake Knox taking part in 'Sing Your Failures' guided by Michelle O'Rourke. Picture: Mark Condren

When I was in fifth class, we were told the annual Christmas show was going to be different that year. The nativity was out and so was anything overly festive. No baby Jesus, mangers, or men in red suits. Instead, we were paying tribute to the so-called land of the free — a celebration of Americana. The show would feature Disney melodies, children dancing frantically to country and western rootin’-tootin’ show tunes, and characters from beloved TV programmes. Speculation over the cast list was fierce, and discussed at length in the school playground.

Then, one day, after small break, I was called to the principal’s office. She told me I was to take on an important role in the show. “We have decided that you shall play the part of,” she paused dramatically, peering over her glasses, “Big Bird.” My heart sank. Big Bird. I had been hoping to play Belle from Beauty and the Beast, not a muppet.


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