THEATRE by the Lake swings into its summer season this weekend with a five star mix of comedy and drama.

First in the spotlight is Ben Travers’ family friendly Rookery Nook, opening in the Keswick theatre’s Main House on Saturday (May 24, 8pm).

Set in the 1920s, the story revolves around a rented holiday home in Somerset. Cousins Clive and Gerald are expecting a quiet holiday, but when a pretty girl in pink pyjamas turns up at their door she sets off a chain of misunderstandings that throws them into riotous chaos.

Meanwhile, the first offering of the highly anticipated season in the theatre’s Studio is The Winterling, a twisted thriller about living on the edge, from Jez Butterworth.

The play is set in a derelict farmhouse on Dartmoor. Ex-gangster West is waiting for his associates from the city; this could be his only chance to get back in the game and escape the muddy, cold countryside. But the dog is missing and there’s a mysterious girl upstairs – nothing is quite what it seems.

Writer Jez is best-known for his recent smash-hit Jerusalem, starring Mark Rylance, which played the West End and Broadway and won both Olivier and Tony Awards.

As the summer progresses, Rookery Nook and The Winterling will be joined by four other plays to complete the programme line-up.

An adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic vampire novel Dracula by Scottish poet Liz Lochhead begins its five-month run in rep on June 7 in the Main House, followed in the Studio on June 13 by Seeing the Lights, a brand new comedy about family relationships and responsibilities by northern playwright Brendan Murray.

July 20 sees Shakespeare’s shortest play The Comedy of Errors open in the Main House. Like Rookery Nook, it hinges on mistaken identity and misunderstanding, as two sets of identical twins separated at birth find themselves in the same town. The final play in the Studio opens on August 1 - Old Times, a passionate and mysterious play by Harold Pinter, about two friends who reunite after 20 years apart; memories clash, sexual tension mounts and the lines between reality and imagination begin to blur.

The theatre is offering ticket deals for those wanting to see six, four, three or two plays.

Further details are available from the box office on 017687-74411.