Newark Symphony Hall Gets First Community Engagement Manager, PR

According to a Feb. 7 announcement, longtime Essex County resident Chris Sabin is the first director of communications and social impact at Newark Symphony Hall, located in the town of the same name.

Leading this new office, Sabin will oversee community development and engagement within Newark, as well as public events and other programs, as well as the site’s job training and job placement program called Symphony Works.

The historic Broad Street entertainment venue – opened nearly a century ago in 1925 and with enough seating for an audience of 3,500 – bills itself as the world’s largest human-run arts and entertainment venue Blacks from the Garden State. Formerly called the Mosque Theater, Newark Symphony Hall has hosted major musical figures such as the Beatles, Rolling States, Aretha Franklin and Jimi Hendrix, and was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.


“Now is the perfect time to join this important historic institution in New Jersey’s largest city,” read a Monday statement from South Orange resident Sabin.

His resume ranges from working at MTV Networks, UWG and Prime Access to marketing for the NAACP, according to Monday’s announcement.

The theater is planning a $40 million renovation, which it aims to complete before the venue’s 100th anniversary in three years. A seven-member, black-led committee was formed in fall 2020 — with members from companies such as Goldman Sachs — to raise money for the renovations. In January, the site added Mack Graham as director of development to lead its fundraising department.

Nearby, plans for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, another major cultural institution in Newark, call for a $150 million arts district with townhouses, rental housing, retail establishments, arts spaces and culture and restaurants.

James C. Tibbs