FRINGE 19 | 5 mins with Vanessa Crofskey

A performance artist, poet and producer Vanessa Crofskey will showcase her latest poetry show Long Distance Phone Calls as part of the Auckland Fringe Festival.  The programme  features some of Auckland’s best writers including Manu Vaea , Kyla Dela Cruz, Stevie Davis-Tana , Phodiso Dintwe , the girls of Ngā Puna O Waiōrea  and renowned performance poet Carrie Rudzinski. 

She is a Rising Voices National Finalist and winner of the 2015 Auckland University Poetry Slam, Auckland Regional Slam and the Auckland Fringe Festival Best Storytelling award. Vanessa’s gig as Basement Theatre’s 2018 Producer in Residence has kept her busy, but we caught up with her ahead of her Auckland Fringe show.


1. Is this your first Fringe Auckland?  

This is my second Auckland Fringe! I was a last-minute addition to the Basement Performance Salon in 2017 and ended up winning two sweet awards. This year I’m organising a poetry show featuring all my favourite writers. It’s my first time leading the helm on a project like this – I’ve never directed or lead my own event before – so it means I’m trying out lots of new things. I know how special it can be to hear a poem and feel it settle so deep inside you, so I’m looking forward to sharing that experience with an audience.

2. Describe your show in three words or less…

Warm, tender, curious.

3. Fringe Festivals are known for the weird, wacky, and utterly wonderful – what’s the most bizarre
thing you’ve come across during your Fringe history?

The most memorable event I came across last Fringe was the Dead Writer’s Retreat. It was less bizarre, more uniquely cool. Claire O’Loughlin and Marcus McShane transformed this small unused corner of the Basement into a workable writing space, ft. a very grand desk, ink quills, a chosen piece of art and inspirational music. I was totally swept away.

4. What are your top 3 picks for Auckland Fringe?

Pussy Riot, Desperate Late Night Energy, I Am Rachel Chu!

5. Where will we find you during the festival?

You’ll find me on the balcony of the Great Hall at Auckland Live, surrounded by poets and most likely typing furiously.

6. What would we find if we raided your fridge?

Half a wilted cabbage, the last dregs of japanese mayo, lime juice. Unused almond milk and two Lion Reds left behind at a house party months ago.

7. Tell us about your spirit animal?

Spirit animal, as a term, insensitively appropriates Native American customs so I prefer not to use that term. An animal that I strongly relate to is definitely the red panda.

8. Word Association:

Fringe – self-botched haircuts
Fridge – doors being left open
Auckland – mouldy flats and bright blue harbours
Festival – smoke and fireworks
Lights – telephone lines

See Long Distance Phone Calls as part of Fringe Town during Auckland Fringe Festival at Auckland Town Hall on Tue 19 February.

Buy your tickets here