Viestur Kairish debuted as an opera director in 1999 with a production of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin at the Latvian National Opera, for which he was awarded the Latvian Great Music Award in 2000. His production of Eugene Onegin has also been performed in Copenhagen.
In 2000 Kairish directed one of the dramatic novellas in the Hotel Europa project by Goran Stefanovsky. The world premiere of the production took place at the Wiener Festwochen festival in Vienna. It was later performed in Bonn, Avignon, Stockholm and Bologne.
In 2001 Kairish directed Mozart's Die Zauberflöte at the Latvian National Opera, for which - as well as for the productions of Margaret and The Dark Deer and his Leaving by the Way movie - he won the Spīdola Prize of the Latvian Culture Foundation. In 2001 Viestur Kairish took part in the 49th Venice Bienniale with his Magic Flute short film; The Dark Deer was performed at the Bonn Bienniale and the production of Margaret was shown at the Toruń Theatre Festival.
In 2002, Viesturs Kairish founded his United Intimacy theatre company with the intention of offering a contemporary and provocative alternative to productions by Latvian state-owned theatres. Kairish made his filmmaking debut in 1998 with a short film titled The Train. The film The Wedding followed two years later, bringing him the Lielais Kristaps Latvian film award. In 2001 Kairish directed Leaving by the Way, his first feature-length movie which won the Lielais Kristaps film award in Latvia and an award for the best debut at the Raindance Film Festival in the U.K. in 2002.
In 2003 Kairish directed Romeo and Juliet, a documentary musical. In 2006 his second feature-length film The Dark Deer was released.
His productions of Die Walküre (2007) and Siegfried (2008) at the Latvian National Opera have been highly acclaimed and awarded with the Latvian music and theatre awards (the Great Latvian Music Award for Siegfried as the Best Production of 2008, and Latvian Theatre Award.In 2010, Viestur Kairish directed Puccini's Il Trittico which was awarded the Audiences Prize as the Best Production of the Year.
Viestur Kairish’s future plans include Britten’s A Midsummer Night's Dreamin the Komische Oper Berlin, and Weber’s Der Freischützin the Oper Köln. Viestur Kairish also works on his new feature film Chronicles of Melanie about Soviet deportations to Siberia in 1941.