This paper presents the novel theory for performing multi-agent activity recognition without requiring large training corpora. The reduced need for data means that robust probabilistic recognition can be performed within domains where annotated datasets are traditionally unavailable. Complex human activities are composed from sequences of underlying primitive activities. We do not assume that the exact temporal ordering of primitives is necessary, so can represent complex activity using an unordered bag. Our three-tier architecture comprises low-level video tracking, event analysis and high-level inference. High-level inference is performed using a new, cascading extension of the Rao–Blackwellised Particle Filter. Simulated annealing is used to identify pairs of agents involved in multi-agent activity. We validate our framework using the benchmarked PETS 2006 video surveillance dataset and our own sequences, and achieve a mean recognition F-Score of 0.82. Our approach achieves a mean improvement of 17% over a Hidden Markov Model baseline.