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KYP photo I’ve recently added a new hat to my collection and have begun directing. I made my theatrical director’s debut with the production of Kill Your Parents in Viking Alberta that opened the 2016 season at The Storefront Theatre in collaboration with Blood Pact Theatre. It received critical praise and I was also nominated for outstanding direction from the My Theatre World Awards.


— Rachel Cairns’s deft direction allows the dialogue to breathe, with pauses in all the right places. — Debbie Fein-Goldbach, Now NNNN

— Thanks to excellent acting under Rachel Cairns’s attentive direction, Bryce Hodgson and Charlie Kerr’s plot line compels from the get-go. — The Star, Karen Fricker 

 This is Rachel Cairns first time directing for the theatre. Talented woman. There is a fight at the end of the play that is dandy, thanks to Nate Bitton. And an ending that leaves you with your eyes popping. Wow. — The Slotkin Letter 

Behind the Camera

Along with my work behind the camera creating my web series, I now have two short films under my belt.

I co-directed Esmerelda’s Castle with my creative partner Sarah Hempinstall, and collaborated with Brendan Jeffers on the short Fowl Play, both in partnership with the YEAA Shorts Residency. 

To quote the writer John Patrick Shanley “writing is acting is directing is living your life”,  I count myself lucky to have so many creative and generous collaborators in mine. Expect more news from the directing front soon and stay tuned. 


I hail from the wet west coast of this great land. The ions and hippie parenting fostered my laid back/chilled demeanour. But my fire based zodiac signs fuel the furnace in my belly. I trained as an actor in England at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where I dawned a black leotard and did some growing up, followed by some backpacking and sex, in no particular order. When I lived through my first real heart break I decided the experience was complete and moved to Toronto with a guitar (I did not yet know how to play) in tow.

Since then I have become a true Torontonian, living in the urban jungle, continuing to gig as a gun for hire, while pursuing the creation of my own work.

I love making things. I love acting in things. I love writing the things. Sometimes I will direct, said things. And usually I produce them too. Most importantly, I love doing these things with my fellow artists and partners in crime who make me laugh and feel… things.

I’d love you to check out my youtube channel and watch one of my web series or short films. Thanks for visiting, I’d love to hear from you about your things, and here’s to all the things to come.


Resume And Reviews

The Summoned

By Fabrizio Filippo directed by Richard Rose

The Summoned

Then, there’s Cairns as Isla, who is extremely intelligent, but is constantly trolling the men around her by pretending to be dumb. She observes all the action onstage with detached amusement – and Cairns gives her the physicality of an insane yoga instructor, pulling off a few moments of dazzling slapstick.
The Globe and Mail J. KELLY NESTRUCK April 28th 2016

Cairns, new to Toronto, makes an engagingly lippy Isla; you’d want her on your side in a scrappy situation.
NOW Toronto Jon Kaplan April 30, 2016

Rachel Cairns as Isla, presents a great youthful vibrancy – replete with physical flexibility and a fun filled persona that flirts and flies in the face of the rampant manipulation that surrounds her.
Bateman Reviews, Ma7 7 2016

The Competition is Fierce

Produced by ItsAZoo and Directed by Chelsea Haberlin

Rachel Cairns, who’s playing Claire, is such an emotionally resourceful actor. When she goes still and her face flushes, you can’t help but feel for the character.
-Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight, March 9th, 2015

Cairns as Claire is remarkable, pulling off a nuanced performance in the middle of the sometimes too-farcical action (I’m thinking of a gory bit with a dead squirrel). I’d say she’s a standout.
-Marsha Lederman, The Globe and Mail, March 11th, 2015

Cairns is the star – sharpening a vague script about sexual harassment to a
point, and evoking the most emotion from her plight.
-Kelsey Klassen, Westender, March 12th, 2015

Rachel Cairns is wickedly sharp, and finds the heart of the love story.
-David C. Jones, Vancouver Presents, March 6th, 2015

Cairns is so straightforward and pure in her approach to the role that she’s like a breath of spring in corporate hell.
-Jo Ledingham, Vancouver Courier, March 13th, 2015

The Cymbeline - Bard on the Beach

Directed by Anita Rochon

As the show’s leading — and only — lady, Rachel Cairns is luminous. You can feel her yearning for her missing man, her agony at being suspected of betraying him, her heartbreak when … that would be telling. Pretty much every character in the play ultimately falls in love with her, but the audience will beat them to it.
-The Vancouver Sun, Mark Leiren-Young, July 14th

Rachel Cairns is also stellar as Imogen. One of the smartest young actors around, she finds every mote of the clear intelligence in the character. She knows exactly how to spin a laugh out of Imogen’s straightforwardness, as when the character says to Cloten, “I don’t like you.” And she’s so grounded that great waves of feeling simply well up and pass through her.
-The Georgia Straight, Colin Thomas

Rachel Cairns is also a standout; her Imogen is strong and determined while also soft and vulnerable. In intimate moments, we could read the agony on her face, and see the tears fall from her eyes. She is also very, very funny.
-The Globe and Mail, Marsha Lederman, August 1st, 2014

Finally, Cairns is excellent as Imogen, a tough-minded, clever young woman who risks her life for love. She is the touching core of this wonderful theatrical enterprise.
-Michael Groberman, Huffington Post, August 1st, 2014

Interview – Vancouver Sun

Twelfth Night - Bard on the Beach

Directed by Dennis Garnhum

Rachel Cairns’s Viola is full of heart; I’ve never seen Viola’s grief over her lost brother rendered with such tenderness. And Cairns makes Viola a sly young thing, always actively thinking her way through her deception as she savours and suffers its ironies.
-The Georgia Straight, Colin Thomas June 27, 2013

Leading this uniformly talented cast is a sublime performance from Rachel Cairns as Viola, the shipwrecked heroine who, disguised as a man, becomes the object of another woman’s affections while secretly coveting her master’s heart. Proving that even the smallest of glances and reactions can speak volumes, Cairns’ performance is simply riveting.
-Gay Vancouver, Mark Robins, June 27, 2013

Rachel Cairns brings so high a degree of sensitivity and such depth of character to her role as Viola that her wooing of Olivia on behalf of Orsino moves from inventively plausible to intellectually passionate, and ramps up to nothing short of artistically astounding. She is not only utterly believable in her role within a role, she is so consummate that it is easy to see why Jennifer Lines’ Olivia cannot help but become smitten by her youthful ebullience.
-Review Vancouver, Roger Wayne Eberle, June 27, 2013

Hamlet - Bard on the Beach

Directed by Kim Collier

Collier’s silent opening scene has an enormous impact on the production, establishing a solid intimacy between the pair, Ophelia’s passion and compassion, and the brightening effect she has on her lover. This makes what is to come all the more powerful – in particular an intense “get thee to a nunnery” exchange between Hamlet and Ophelia. We have seen what was there between them, so we feel its destruction more deeply… Cairns is an excellent Ophelia – a wounded equal as she implores Hamlet to return to his old self.
-The Globe and Mail, Marsha Lederman, July 9, 2013

Interview – Bard on the Beach

Romeo and Juliet - Pilot Theatre UK

Directed by Marcus Romer and Katie Posner

Rachel Cairns’ Juliet cuts an engagingly tomboyish figure in a flannel shirt and lace-up boots, and has an impressive instinct for chopping the lines into the sardonic cadences of a stubborn teenager.
-The Guardian, Alfred Hickling, September 22, 2010

Posner and Romer were lucky in Rachel Cairns fantastic, touchingly young Juliet; she was strong enough to wrench real grief from the well-worn story. Her capricious Juliet flitted between emotions but the sheer joy emanating from her when she found Oliver Wilson’s tender Romeo was beautifully bittersweet.
-A Younger Theatre, Eleanor Turney, February 7, 2011

Rachel Cairns Juliet is played older than Shakespeare’s 13 year old, but gets the mix of adolescent temperament and tragedy-born premature maturity just right. She even dares a couple of rising inflections that work – surprising us and making the verse joltingly modern.
-Reviews Gate, Mark-Courtice, October 23, 2010

The two leads, Oliver Wilson (Romeo) and Rachel Cairns (Juliet) gave solid performances. Rachel in particular…showing a greater range to her acting abilities. You really were convinced of Juliet’s anguish when she knew that Romeo had been banished.
-Theatre Reviews in London, Paul Gladwell


I am currently in development for my first feature as a writer/director and a one woman show about Abortion. Stay tuned for exciting updates.


Edna Talent Management

Angela Wright 416-413-7800

318 Dundas Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5T 1G5

Carrier Talent Management

Esther Cohen 604-683-8641

#705 - 1080 Howe St
Vancouver, BC V6Z 2T1

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