Judy Ditchfield is an award-winning South African theatre, television and film actress as well as a singer, musician, writer and voice artist best known to television viewers as Stella Fouche on SABC3's primetime soapie Isidingo.
Judy was born in Pretoria and grew up in Irene (just outside Pretoria). At age six she moved to Kimberley and when she was 13 her family moved to Pietermaritzburg. She spent three years in Durban (1984 - 1987) then moved to Johannesburg, where she has lived ever since.
Judy is married to actor/musician Paul Ditchfield and they have two sons: Keaton (born 1991), who is also an actor; and Tom (born 1996), currently (2016) studying BCom Law at Wits.
Judy attended various schools growing up: Belgravia Junior School and Herlear Primary in Kimberley and Pelham Primary (Std 5) and Pietermaritzburg Girls High School (Std 6 - matric) in Pietermaritzburg.
After school she attended the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, achieving a BA Degree in Psychology and Drama.
After graduating Judy was offered a contract with the Natal Performing Arts Council (NAPAC), where she worked for four years, from 1984 - 1987.
She performed in numerous theatre shows during this time for the Loft Theatre Company (a branch of NAPAC), including Boo To The Moon by Paul Slabolepszy, Tales From The Pleasure Palace by Janice Honeyman, Kwamanzi, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Hambe Kahle, Maid In South Africa, Mistakes Of An African Night To Conquer, En Dit Was More, In The War by Norman Coombes, Kitchen Tea and a schools tour of Othello.
Other theatre plays she has appeared in include When The Cat's Away and Is The Mouse Boss? for Pieter Toerien, Travelling Shots and Heel Against The Head by Paul Slabolepszy and Rainshark, a play written by Neil McCarthy and performed at The Market Theatre.
She also appeared in Macbeth at the State Theatre in Pretoria, The Things We Do For Love (another Toerien production) and Comrades Arms by Anthony Ackerman, for which she earned a Kwazulu-Natal Vita nomination for Best Performance In A Comedy, Female (2000 - 2001).
With her musical talents Judy appeared in numerous musicals and cabarets as well. Some of them include: Christian; Neill Solomon Rock Concert; Bursting Out; Soundcraft; The Last Great Drive-In Movie Picture Show; It's All Fright By Me; It's Still Rock And Roll To Me; Tarts; A Touch Of Tonic (directed by husband Paul Ditchfield); the smash hit Richard Loring production A Touch Of Webber, A Taste Of Rice; Snow White And The Seven Dwarves; Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story; Fiela's Child: The Musical; The Night They Invented Champagne; and Queen: The Concert at the Sandton Convention Centre.
From October 2006 to March 2007 Ditchfield appeared in Menopause: The Musical for Showtime Management / Pieter Toerien Productions at the Montecasino Theatre in Johannesburg.
She received a 2006 Naledi Theatre Awards nomination for Best Comedy Performance (Female) in a Play, Musical or Revue for her role in Menopause: The Musical.
She played Vi Moore in Footloose, for which she received a Naledi nomination; and performed in The Boys in the Photograph at the Joburg Theatre. She played Lilly Harrison in 6 Dance Lessons in 6 Weeks and Sister Act for the Joburg Theatre.
Judy has appeared in numerous television shows. She appeared in Case Book for Bop TV and guest starred on The Game II, Sonnekring II, Suburban Bliss and Streaks I and II.
She played a lead in Angels, Isabella in Hoof Of Africa, Bettina Boxall in Zero Tolerance and a legal administrator in Yizo Yizo. In 2012 she joined the cast of the SABC1 sitcom Ses'Top La, in the role of Mrs. Rabinowitz.
Her biggest television role to date is Stella Fouche in Isidingo. She was asked to do six calls for the show in May 2004 but producers loved her character and decided to keep it.
Judy has appeared in anumber of movies, including Faith's Corner, Glory Glory, Cape Of Good Hope and the critically-acclaimed Stander, the biopic of South African folk hero bank robber Andre Stander.
She has a prolific resume of industrial/corporate theatre as well, including work for clients like SAB, Nedcor, Five Roses, FNB, Transnet, Barclays and ABSA.
Aside from theatre and television, Judy keeps busy in the corporate world doing training, facilitation and Business Role Play, both locally and internationally. She started a company with fellow industry professionals Jocelyn Broderick (her sister) and Charlotte Butler called Performance Role Play Training (PRPT), in which they do training and facilitation using professional business role players in their training.
UK-trained, Judy facilitates at many global companies including Anglo American, something she finds both challenging and exciting.
As a writer Ditchfield has contributed to industrial theatre scripts for clients such as Spoornet, Raid, Vodacom Corporate Solutions and the Paralympics.
She has also contributed as a writer on three children's productions: A Trunk, A Story and A Song; What Lies Within; and Under African Skies.
Awards and Nominations
Judy has been nominated for four Vita Awards, winning once.
1994/95: Won the FNB/Tonight Vita Comedy Award for Heel Against The Head
1995/96: Best Supporting Actress nomination (Regional Vita Awards, Kwazulu Natal) for her role as Celeste in Heel Against The Head
1998/99: Best Supporting Actress nomination, (Regional Vita Awards, Cape) for her role as Barta in Fiela's Child, The Musical
2000/01: Best Performance In A Comedy - Female nomination, (Regional Vita Awards, Kwazulu Natal), for Comrades Arms
2006/07: Best Comedy Performance (Female) in a Play, Musical or Revue nomination, (Naledi Theatre Awards), for Menopause: The Musical.