Alumnus performs comedy show for Cambridge charity

Friday 22 July 2022


St Catharine’s alumnus Paul Mayhew-Archer (1972, English) has announced that he will be performing his one-man comedy show, called “Incurable Optimist”, for an uplifting evening in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Cambridge branch of Parkinson’s UK. His show is scheduled for 23 August and all ticket revenue will go to Parkinson’s UK, a charity aiming to find a cure and improve life for everybody affected by Parkinson’s disease. Tickets are available online.

Paul said, “I read English at Catz and absolutely loved it. Later I became a writer, but always wished I had ‘something to say’ like proper writers did. Then, eleven years ago, I got my wish. I got Parkinson’s and I’ve had plenty to say ever since. I know this is going to sound bonkers but I would not have missed it for the world.

“If you're free and near Cambridge on 23 August, do please come and hear what I have to say about taking serious illness less seriously. And say hello. I’d love to meet others from Catz because I have such fond memories of the place. And yes, I know I shouldn’t start a sentence with an ‘And’.”

Since graduating from St Catharine’s, Paul has established himself as a multi-award-winning writer whose credits include 'The Vicar of Dibley’, “Mrs Brown’s Boys” and the screen version of “Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot” starring Judi Dench and Dustin Hoffman. He also produced the much-loved Radio 4 shows ‘I'm Sorry I haven’t A Clue’ and ‘Old Harry’s Game’, and as a script editor he has worked on everything from ‘Spitting Image’ to ‘Miranda’. 

In 2011 Paul was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurological condition that affects around 145,000 people in the UK and is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world. He made his first documentary in 2016, “Parkinson’s: The funny Side”, for which he won the Grierson Award for Best Documentary Presenter. In 2017 he started doing stand-up about Parkinson’s, first at the Royal Albert Hall then at The Comedy Store. In 2018 he took "Incurable Optimist”, his first ever one-man show, to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Following a hugely successful run at Edinburgh, he began touring the UK.