The National Theatre has confirmed its forthcoming series of Platforms talks for 2014.

The eclectic programme of talks, discussions and interviews includes writers Alan Ayckbourn, Alan Bennett and Enda Walsh ; directors Sam Mendes, Carrie Cracknell  and Neil Bartlett ; and actors Kenneth Cranham and Michael Palin.

All Platforms begin at 6pm at the National Theatre and last for 45 minutes. Most are only £4 (£3 concessions).

Alan Ayckbourn
Thu 10 April, Olivier, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
The legendary playwright discusses his work.

Adam Penford on A Small Family Business
Tue 15 April, Olivier, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
The director talks about his new production of Ayckbourn’s play.

Poems That Make Grown Men Cry
Tue 29 April, Lyttelton BS, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
Melvyn Bragg, Richard Dawkins, Mike Leigh, Simon McBurney, Ian McEwan, Ben Okri, Simon Russell Beale and Simon Schama read from Amnesty International’s new book; directed by Richard Eyre.

Alan Bennett
Wed 7 May, 7pm (1hr), Olivier £4/£3
The playwright discusses his work with Nicholas Hytner.

Family Values – A Taste of Honey: Helen and Jo
Fri 9 May, 3pm (1hr) £5/£4 Lyttelton
A series of interviews with members of the acting company, discussing the plays and what they’ve discovered about the relationships at the heart of them with Lesley Sharp and Kate O’Flynn.

Craig Brown and Friends
Fri 9 May, Lyttelton, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
In celebration of his 25 glorious years with Private Eye, Craig Brown presents a parodic One-Stop Literary Festival – with a little help from his friends Eleanor Bron, Ian Hislop, Jan Ravens, Peter Serafinowicz and A N Wilson.

First World War Poetry
Fri 16 May, Lyttelton, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
Kenneth Cranham and Deborah Findlay read WWI poetry, with Josephine Hart’s potent introductions.

O’Casey: Beyond Dublin
Sat 17 May, 10.30am (90mins), Lyttelton, £5/£4
A chance to explore the later work of playwright Sean O’Casey with Abbey Theatre archivist Mairead Delaney, director Wayne Jordan, author James Moran, and readings by NT actors. Chaired by P J Mathews.

Sam Mendes on King Lear
Mon 19 May, 5.30pm, Olivier £4/£3
The film and stage director talks about his acclaimed production.

Michael Palin
Mon 2 June, Olivier BS, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
Michael Palin tells the story of how the famous shows and films were conceived, argued about, and brought to hilarious life in his new book, Monty Python at Work.

Rebecca Front and Michael Simkins
Fri 13 June BS, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
Two actors share their comedy experiences in their new books, Curious and The Rules of Acting.

Family Values – A Small Family Business: Jack and Poppy
Thu 26 June, 3pm (1hr) £5/£4 Olivier
A series of interviews with members of the acting company, discussing the plays and what they’ve discovered about the relationships at the heart of them with Nigel Lindsay and Debra Gillett.

Family Values – The Silver Tassie: Sylvester and Harry
Thu 3 July, 3pm (1hr) £5/£4 Lyttelton
A series of interviews with members of the acting company, discussing the plays and what they’ve discovered about the relationships at the heart of them with Aidan McArdle and Ronan Raftery.

Connections Writers
Mon 7 July, Lyttelton, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
The writers of this year’s Connections plays discuss their experience of the festival.

Kate Adie
Thu 31 July, Lyttelton BS, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
In Fighting on the Home Front, the distinguished journalist explores the momentous legacy of women in WWI.

Neil Bartlett
Fri 1 Aug BS, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
The director and writer talks about his novel, The Disappearance Boy, set in the tarnished world of 1950s variety theatres.

Medea: Ancient and Modern – Carrie Cracknell and Ben Power
Tue 12 Aug, Olivier, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
The director and playwright talk about their new version of Euripides’ tragedy.

Medea: Ancient and Modern – Acts of Madness
Tue 19 Aug, Olivier, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
Classicist Edith Hall and psychiatrist Femi Oyebode take a contemporary view of whether Medea’s behaviour is determined by ‘madness’.

Medea: Ancient and Modern – Motives and Murder
Thu 21 Aug, Olivier, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
Forensic psychiatrist Christopher Cordess and academic Julia Stroud look at the result of social environments on revenge killings and their psychological impact.

Medea: Ancient and Modern – Women in Ancient Greece
Mon 1 Sep, Olivier, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
Historian Bettany Hughes and theatre scholar Oliver Taplin discuss the place of women in religion and their depiction as dangerous and tragic figures.

Enda Walsh on Ballyturk
Fri 19 Sep, Lyttelton, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
The writer and director discusses his new play.

John Lahr
Mon 22 Sep, Lyttelton BS, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
As his definitive biography of Tennessee Williams is published, John Lahr talks to Nicholas Hytner.

Rona Munro and Laurie Sansom on The James Plays
Fri 26 Sep, Olivier, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
The playwright and director discuss this trilogy of plays about the kings of Scotland.

LINKS

National Theatre website

National Theatre on WestEndTheatre.com