CORNWALL, Ontario - Allie Dulmage calls it a stepping stone in an industry that can be just as demanding as it is rewarding.
But when you are this new to comedy, as she so eloquently puts it - "every show we do is a stepping stone."
Dulmage and her sketch comedy troupe "Swimsuit Issues" will be performing at the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival which begins Thursday at the Comedy Bar in the provincial capital.
Dulmage's troupe will hit the stage March 14.
"We just kind of do our own thing," Dulmage says of Swimsuit Issues, which mixes a liberal dose of self-depricating humour with on-stage antics. "We like to make fun of ourselves."
Dulmage began her fledgling career in comedy after leaving the Seaway City to study in the comedy program at Humber College in Toronto in the fall of 2011.
Yes, there are even comedy programs at provincial colleges. Humber's Comedy: Writing and Performance program helps talented students develop their craft while gaining an understanding of the commercial side of the industry. Humber's comedy faculty is comprised of seasoned, award-winning professionals who are still active in the comedy industry.
"It's pretty awesome," said Dulmage. "I think this is one of the few programs of its kind in the world."
Dulmage is set to graduate from the program this spring and will embark on what she hopes will be a rewarding career in the performing arts.
"I really want to just keep doing what I'm doing," Dulmage said. "I'm just trying to hone my skills."
She's already done some stand-up routines with Yuk-Yuks, but she and her fellow members of Swimsuit Issues are hoping for more at the sketch comedy festival.
"It's exactly what you see on (Saturday Night Live) every weekend," she said of the festival and sketch comedy in general. "We all like to tell jokes together so we're a good match."
For more on the festival, check out torontosketchfest.com.