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Random Acts of Art


It has been revealed that the previously released historical archive film, supposedly from 1912 is actually an elaborate April Fool’s project, dreamt up by artist Seamas Carey, commissioned by Kneehigh as part of the Random Acts of Art festival.

Seamas Carey explains,
“The archive film prank was commissioned by Kneehigh as part of their Random Acts of Art project. Drawing on the local history of St Austell Bay and The Clay Country, I wanted to combine the old, Edwardian archive film clips with surreal and slapstick humour. With my work, I enjoy taking very different cultural tropes and sticking them together to make something new. I have done this before, by creating a male voice choir for younger men, a crazy game show about pagan rituals, or a pop song about standing stones. This archive film prank is very much in the same vein.

I wanted to make a piece of archive film, that looked so believably realistic, that you might fall for it, just for a moment. To achieve this, I knew I needed the skills of filmmaker extraordinaire Michael Eddy. Having worked on Mark Jenkin’s film Bait, I knew Michael had experience working with actual film and old school Bolex cameras, so hopefully this gave the prank film an authentic quality. We shot everything on 16mm, outside in real Cornish locations. Many of the people on screen are local people to the area, as well as a few familiar Kneehigh stalwarts such as Giles King and my dad, Jim Carey.”

“I’m delighted and impressed by all the museums who backed the idea, which shows that cultural and heritage organisations have a great sense of humour.”

Cultural and heritage organisations from across Cornwall supported the hilarious project and shared with their audiences on April Fool’s Day.

Chloe Phillips, Learning Lead at Kresen Kernow, Cornwall’s archive centre said:
“We were delighted to be involved in this April Fool’s Day fun, particularly as everyone needs something a bit light-hearted at the moment. Although this piece of footage might not be an authentic discovery, we are always looking out for new items to add to the archive collections at Kresen Kernow, particularly if they reveal previously unexplored aspects of our history – or confirm old myths!”

Seamas Carey


Michael Eddy

Director of Photography

Rebecca McDonald

Production Design

Jude Munden


Rory Blair

Camera Assistant

Chris Mudge

Production Assistant

Charlotte West

Assistant Director

Richard Seary

Production Manager

Charlie Bunker


Steve Tanner


Amy Goodwin

Title Cards

Zander Grinfeld

Digital Effects

Rob Higgs



Jim Carey, Giles King, Maggie Tagney, Jenny Beare, Sheila Vanloo, Tony Crosby, Claire Hewlett, Mo Imms, Stuart Imms, Liam Brannigan, Holy Brannigan, Queenie Brannigan, Jarvis Brannigan, Artemis Brannigan and Rory Blair.

Seamas Carey is a Cornish artist best known for his anarchic, interactive and community-based projects such as Pagan Pandemonium, I Wish I Was A Standing Stone and Seamas Carey Meets His 4 Year Old Self (Emma Rice’s 2019 theatre highlight, The Guardian). He also conducts Cornwall’s first alternative male voice choir, Men Are Singing.

In 2020 he was the winner of the Maurice O’Connell Bursary Award.

Seamas is a multi-instrumentalist (accordion, piano, double bass, bagpipes, banjo, sousaphone) and has worked for the past nine years as a composer, performer, choir leader, musical director, puppeteer, silent film pianist and piano tuner. He grew up in Cornwall where he still lives but has toured all over the world with theatre productions by Wildworks, Kneehigh and Sally Cookson.

Random Acts of Art celebrates 40 years of Kneehigh with 40 wonder encounters across St Austell Bay, from parading lanterns and drive-by puppetry to projection installations and epic sand drawings. From 30th March – 30th May 2021. Keep your eyes peeled and share what #RandomActs you spot.