“By 6.45pm there are usually about 20 or 30 people waiting to get one of the open-mic spots,” Ebony Moncrief says. “It’s a beautiful thing, seeing people wanting to share their stories with strangers.”

Moncrief started the open-mic series, Voices in the Attic, in 2014. It starts at 7pm sharp every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at Ferdydurke.

Each evening hosts 10 open mic-ers. The audience might sit side-by-side on the floor, or stand along the stairwell. Clicks of recognition, encouraging applause and laughter are the only sounds as each speaker gets up for their five minutes.

The Voices in the Attic community embraces the vulnerability that comes with performing.

“I understand the importance of platforms that give people an opportunity to share themselves,” says Moncrief. “But honestly, I never expected Voices in the Attic to grow this much.”

Moncrief has performed poetry and spoken word across the country at events such as Remastered Myths, and competed at a national level at the Australian Poetry Slam. She’s also run workshops with Multicultural Arts Victoria to help budding poets develop their work.

“People come here for a reason,” says Moncrief of the series. “To connect, to feel encouraged in their craft, to be entertained.”

Voices in the Attic takes place every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at Ferdydurke from 7pm to 10pm. The microphone is open to anyone, just sign up at 6.45pm. Entry is free.

Level & 2, 31 Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne