WAAPA  graduate  takes top  theatre  award
Honoured: Verity Hunt-Ballard. Picture: Getty Images

Verity Hunt-Ballard, a WA Academy of Performing Arts graduate, has been honoured with a leading lady Helpmann Award for her role in Sweet Charity.

Hunt-Ballard has previously won best female actor in a musical in 2011 for her performance in Mary Poppins.

Opera Australia and John Frost's production of The King and I, starring former Perth performer Lisa McCune as Anna, took out top honour for best musical.

The big winner of the night, Opera Australia, not only scored six awards for the Ring Cycle but also shared an additional three with Frost for The King and I.

WA composer Iain Grandage proved to be the Helpmann's quiet achiever, winning his fifth award for best original score for his work on When Time Stops.

He won in the same category for Cloudstreet in 2002.

Cate Blanchett was close behind, scoring her fourth gong in the best female actor in a play category for her performance in Sydney Theatre Company's The Maids.

Big names ruled in the best actor stakes, with Richard Roxburgh winning the play component for Waiting for Godot and Craig McLachlan taking out the musical title for his depiction of Frank N Furter in cult favourite the Rocky Horror Show.

Legendary entertainer and sentimental favourite Reg Livermore also won best male supporting actor in a musical for his role as the Wizard in Wicked.

WAAPA-trained Charmene Yap was best female dancer for her work with the Sydney Dance Company.

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, of Amsterdam, took out the best symphony orchestra concert award, a visit that was organised through Perth Concert Hall to coincide with the 400-year anniversary of Dirk Hartog's landing.

For the second year in a row, Bruce Springsteen won the best international contemporary concert for his tour with the E Street Band this year.

Noticeably absent from the winner's list was Baz Luhrmann's stage version of Strictly Ballroom.

Despite its seven nominations, it claimed only the best supporting actress in a musical category for Heather Mitchell's portrayal of stage mother Shirley Hastings.

Luhrmann's wife Catherine Martin was a hot favourite for the best costume design award, but she was passed up in favour of Roger Kirk's creations for The King and I.

The West Australian

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