LEADING comedians Jason Manford and Jimmy Carr both star in this year’s Brewery comedy festival.

Billed as bigger and better than last year, the Kendal arts centre’s Freerange Comedy Festival has more than doubled in size for 2013 and takes place during 11 laughter-laden days from May 15-25; last year’s five-day event attracted thousands of comedy fans to South Lakeland – this year’s promises even more.

Also included among the hilarious host of the UK’s funniest comics are Alun Cochrane (May 15), a comedy star very much on the rise; Chris Ramsey (May 16), Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee and star of BBC Two’s new sitcom, Hebburn, and comedy’s most popular pint-puller Al Murray, who brings his new show The Only Way is Epic to the Brewery on May 18.

As well as the eclectic mix of out and about gigs, this year’s Freerange has expanded to include shows at Lakes Leisure Kendal and Kendal’s Castle Green Hotel.

Castle Green stages The Father Ted Dinner Show on May 23, transforming its function house into the Craggy Island vicarage for a hilarious tribute show, featuring all of the characters from the classic Irish TV sitcom. The show – a five star smash at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe – includes a three-course meal.

Meanwhile, under the Freerange Comedy Festival banner, Lakes Leisure Kendal puts Jimmy Carr centre stage, with new show Gagging Order on May 25.

One of the coups of the festival is having Jason Manford dropping into Kendal. More used to playing arenas, the top Mancunian mirth-maker appears at the Brewery with a special work in progress show on May 19.

The line-up also includes Simon Evans (May 17), Peacock & Gamble (May 18) and a host of outdoor events still to be confirmed. They will include comedy character Barbara Nice (Janice Connolly star of Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights) on a Magical Mystery Tour and Bob Slayer, who last year conducted a comedy club on top of Gummers Howe. Box office 01539-725133.