June 21, 2021

Travel, cooking, and a ‘showbiz family’ influence actor Jodie Dorday’s home

Actor Jodie Dorday lives in a two-storey home in Hobsonville Point with her husband Troy Bradbury, son JJ and dog, Monty.

We were living in Bali in 2016, when I got a call from the Auckland Theatre Company for the role of Mrs Wilkinson in Billy Elliot: The musical, an amazing role. So we moved back to New Zealand.

We didn’t have time to find anywhere to live at first, so we crashed with my brother and his family for six months. Then we found this place.

My husband and I both work from home, so we wanted a bit of space. My husband has an office downstairs and I have one upstairs in a converted bedroom, where I do all my work. It’s good to have a bit of separation.

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Books are everywhere in Jodie’s house.

JASON DORDAY/Stuff

Books are everywhere in Jodie’s house.

At the moment, I’m working on producing and performing in Di, Viv and Rose. You have to be good at putting two hats on – one hat to produce and then your acting hat. We opened the play at the Women’s Festival last year in Wellington and were one of the first plays to tour New Zealand after lockdown.

I am from a bit of a showbiz family. My mum ran Burgundy’s – the theatre restaurant in Parnell – but she wasn’t a pushy stage mum. I started dancing when I was 4; I wanted to, it was in my genes. Then I went off the rails a bit when I was a teenager. I did the whole, “I’m leaving home” thing and ran around America. But I came back to New Zealand when I was 19 and spent six years performing at Burgundy’s.

I lived in Australia and Japan for a short while too. The first time I went to Bali was for a friend’s special birthday and Troy and I fell in love with it. The beautiful, very simple, grounded culture just resonated with us. We got married there and, then in 2015, we went to live there.

Treasures from Jodie and her husband Troy’s time in Bali feature around the house.

JASON DORDAY/Stuff

Treasures from Jodie and her husband Troy’s time in Bali feature around the house.

I bought those two large paintings at an artist’s collective in Bali and I love the colours. They are so contemporary. We left Bali in quite a hurry and put a lot in storage, so these two canvases were rolled up in a cardboard tube in the back of someone’s garage for years.

Mum’s dad was an Anglican priest with a love of books, and I am now the keeper of our family books. So a lot of the older books are family books. Then, when I was in Roger Hall’s​ play, The Book Club​, a one- woman show, I got some lovely titles, including the Jonathan Franzen​ book Freedom.

I do love reading, I read every night to go to sleep. My husband doesn’t like the light on, so I’m secretly Kindle reading under the covers at the moment – a wonderful book called The Meaning of Rice by Michael Booth​. He’s an English chef and TV personality – and he took his family to Japan to do a sort of culinary tour.

I always say that, when I grow up, I want to have a room that is just floor-to-ceiling books.

We have a sort of open home. We’ve had a lot of visitors this year because of friends having travel plans that have suddenly been in disarray. I think if you’re lucky enough to have a roof over your head and space to share, then there should always be a meal on the table and a bed for people who want it.

The clock is a family heirloom. The bugle belonged to Jodie’s grandad when he was in World War I.

JASON DORDAY/Stuff

The clock is a family heirloom. The bugle belonged to Jodie’s grandad when he was in World War I.

I have a real love for cooking and have picked up lots of things from different countries. I have always been very aware of my food and where it comes from. We don’t have much outdoor space, but everything goes into my compost and I have veges growing – I make every space count.

There are a lot of plants inside as well. I think they just give off an energy – and I love that feeling.

The teepee was my son’s when he was little. Now Monty, the dog, who is 20 years old, has it as his sort of safe den. I am a huge animal lover.

The clock is a family heirloom. The bugle belonged to my grandad when he was in World War I.

Jodie is the keeper of her wider family’s book collection.

JASON DORDAY/Stuff

Jodie is the keeper of her wider family’s book collection.

For me, home is not the four walls, because I have moved so many times. I have small, really significant pieces from countries that I’ve lived in; I’ve got gifts that were given to me many years ago; things I really treasure.

I don’t think it matters what kind of space you live in, as long as you’re surrounded by things that mean something to you.

Jodie Dorday’s production Di, Viv and Rose plays at the PumpHouse Theatre in Takapuna next March, then heads to Whangārei’s Forum North. See fusionproductions.co.nz for dates, times and tickets.