Roundhouse Theatre to keep Sackler name despite turning down £1m donation

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The Roundhouse

London arts venue The Roundhouse will keep the name of the controversial Sackler family on one of its theatres despite rejecting their £1m donation.

The venue's studio theatre was renamed the Sackler Space in 2015 after getting a grant from the billionaire family.

But arts organisations have since shunned their money due to its connections with the controversial opioid painkiller OxyContin.

The Roundhouse turned down a further £1m in 2018.

It said the donation could distract "from our work with young people".

'Hub for emerging artists'

Earlier this year, the Sackler Trust suspended charitable donations in the UK after institutions including the Tate and National Portrait Gallery also declined their funds.

The attractions decided they no longer wanted to be linked with the family that owns US drug company Purdue Pharma, which has been accused of aggressively marketing the prescription painkiller OxyContin. The Roundhouse was listed as receiving £1m in the Sackler Trust's latest accounts, which cover 2018.

A spokesman for the Camden theatre and gig venue said: "We are enormously grateful for the trust's support over the years, but we have made a decision not to accept the donation at this time.

"To do so risks distracting from our work with young people, and that's our priority."

However, they said they do not "intend to remove the name on the Sackler Space at this time". The Sackler Space hosts gigs and, according to the venue's website, is a "hub for developing young emerging artists and their work".

Purdue Pharma is facing thousands of legal cases in the US and is accused of misleading doctors and patients over addiction and overdose risks. It filed for bankruptcy protection in September.

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